This Old House: The Importance of Regular Maintenance
Older homes are awesome – they have character, memories, and a coziness that newer homes take time to develop. While some people may consider an older home a “money pit”, that doesn’t have to be the case. If you own a home, regardless of its age, it is really important to have regular maintenance completed. As with caring for many things in life, if you maintain your home, it will last longer and hold its value better. According to John Ghent, president of the American Society of Home Inspectors, as much as 50% of a home will need repairs or replacement in a30 year period. An average house will need 0.75% of its value in repairs in the first 10 years. If you own an older home, you just need to take that into account when scheduling and completing maintenance. Here are some things to consider focusing on if your home was built before the 2000s.
Roofs can last anywhere from 20 to 30 years, depending on the quality of the material and where you live. Areas with high humidity, regular strong winds, or lots of rainfall can shorten a roof’s lifespan. The average cost nationwide of a new roof can range anywhere from $5,000 to more than $10,000. Factors include the quality of material you are purchasing and how large the roof is. Keeping your roof in good shape is important – it protects the rest of your home from water damage and hail. It also plays a role in the insulation of your space, helping you stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. To help your roof live longer, complete regular maintenance throughout the year. Look at the shingles and check for damage at least once a year and after big storms and high winds. Keep branches clear from the roof, whether they are touching or dangling above to prevent holes. Unclog gutters to prevent water damage from overflow and remove moss to stop growth from pushing up under the shingles.
No matter how old your home is, if you live in the midAtlantic region, there is a good chance that you have some type of heating and cooling system. The average HVAC system lasts about 15 years and costs anywhere from $5,000 to more than $10,000 to replace. Having your system scheduled for regular maintenance by a trained technician twice a year is highly recommended. The system is vital to any home’s comfort throughout the year, and it becomes especially important in older homes. Making sure that humidity and temperature is regulated properly throughout an older home is key in the battle against age. Most homes, old and new, are constructed using wood, which expands and contracts with the temperature and humidity. If you have a good HVAC system, there will be less stress on the wooden aspects of your home because there won’t be such a drastic change in temperature or humidity. While this is important in all homes, many older homes’ “character” comes from wooden features. Healthy wood is less likely to chip off or fall apart.
Making sure that you have snug, well-fitting windows (and doors) is important in any home because it allows your heating and cooling system to work more efficiently. Because replacing all the windows in your home can be pricey (between $300 and $700/ window), many older homes have windows that are really outdated. Gaps can appear in the frames due to the wood expanding and shrinking with temperature and humidity changes. This allows air to leak out, which reduces the efficiency of your HVAC system, leading to an increase in your energy bill, and a decrease in the lifespan of your heating and cooling system. Windows can also cause damage to exterior walls due to rain water leaking in. If you are in need of new windows, but think you can’t afford it, consider replacing a few at a time.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2009 Housing Survey, 42% of homes in America were built before 1974, which means there is a decent chance that you live in an “older” home. Although all homes should be well-maintained, older buildings need a little more TLC to stay in good shape, and to continue to be the place you call home. Focus on maintaining the big items, like the roof and the HVAC to help extend their lifespan, and work on keeping your home energy efficient. Even though the building might be old, you don’t have to live in the dark ages. Give Weather Crafters a call today to schedule your next maintenance visit!