See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. We’ve all heard this saying, and may have even seen it on some shirt or knickknack featuring adorable monkeys with their hands over their eyes, ears, and mouth. But when it comes to our homes, too often many of us are willing to live this saying as well.
- The discoloration on the ceiling? We don’t see it.
- The leaky drip from the faucet? We don’t hear it.
- The wet carpet in the basement? We certainly don’t speak about it.
See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Follow this mantra with your preventative home maintenance and you’re on your way to creating a much greater, and more expensive, evil.
Why is preventative home maintenance so important?
The health of your home is actually very similar to the health of your body. Few problems simply go away on their own — and those that do are the most minor to begin with. Meanwhile, larger problems that are ignored only grow in severity and expense, creating long-term, severe complications.
Home experts recommend you set aside 1-3 percent of your home’s market value each year and dedicate this money solely to preventative home maintenance costs. Some years you may use all of this money, and other years you may not. However, saving this money during those less expensive years will help you build a nest egg to be spent on larger home expenses, like a new roof or the replacement of a costly appliance.
Establishing a diligent preventative home maintenance plan prevents small problems in your home from becoming larger, more expensive challenges, but there are other benefits as well, including:
- Improving your home’s market value. Whether you’re looking to sell your home next month, next year or never, it’s always beneficial to maintain or improve the value of your home. Preventative home maintenance supports these goals by tackling small problems and improving the image of your residence. And if you are looking to sell, a well-maintained home will earn you a higher sales price than one with numerous “projects” waiting for the next owner.
- Getting more enjoyment from your home. You’ll feel more comfortable relaxing in a home where you don’t have to worry about problems or complications. No more sleeping with the pillow over your head to drown out the leaky faucet, avoiding the chair next to the drafty window or laying a towel down to soak up water in the basement.
- Ease of budgeting. Setting aside 1-3 percent for preventative home maintenance establishes a simple repair budget, but it also makes it easier for you to budget for larger upcoming expenses. By actively working to keep your home in good shape, you’ll be more aware of the long-term problems your home faces. And when an expensive appliance finally breaks down or a costly repair project arises, you won’t be completely surprised.
Preventative home maintenance projects you can start now
We’ve talked a lot about the importance of preventative home maintenance projects, but what does this idea actually entail? The answer to this depends in part on your own mechanical aptitude, as a person who works as a contractor, carpenter or plumber will be able to take their preventative home maintenance to a higher level than one who is not.
However, no matter your skill set, there are some projects everyone can tackle such as:
You vacuum your home every day and clean the bathrooms before guests arrive, but the exterior of your home needs some cleaning as well. Your home’s roof and gutters should be inspected and cleaned seasonally, particularly in autumn when falling leaves are apt to clog your drainage system.
As you are continuing your outdoor inspection, this is a great time to add a fresh coat of paint if it is needed. Being proactive in your home painting projects will keep the job from becoming larger and more expensive down the road.
Indoors, be mindful of what you send down any of the drains in your home and listen for a gurgle in the drain when running water. That gurgle could be a hint of a larger problem that’s best handled immediately.
Remember that drafty window we discussed earlier? Don’t avoid it, correct it. Smaller cracks in the window’s foundation may be solved with a simple application of caulk, while a crack in the glass will need a window replacement. Apply the same principle to your driveway or sidewalk and seal any cracks you find there before they sprout into larger problems.
Inside your home, your preventative home maintenance list should also include replacing the furnace filter, and reapplying caulk to the bathroom tile and checking faucets. You can find a handy preventative home maintenance checklist here. It also includes how often you should tackle each project.
If a project is outside your skill set or has expanded beyond the realm of preventative maintenance, then it’s best to hire a professional as quickly as possible. This will likely include any problems with your roof, water leakage into your home, and plumbing or electrical problems. You can use the Web to find reliable contractors, and while hiring a professional won’t be cheap, tackling the problem now as opposed to waiting will save you money in the long run. Because while you may want to see, hear or speak no evil, it’s always beneficial to realize the solution.