Tips & Advice
Congratulations! You got through tough negotiations, inspections, repairs, you name it; you did it. You got through the stressful and often uncertain escrow period and you are a home owner.
You made some changes, moved in and now you can relax right? Well, not exactly. Now that you are a home owner, you want to protect your investment for years to come. This is the first part of a series on maintaining your home and potentially saving you thousands in the long run.
For most people a home purchase is the single biggest investment they will make. Performing routine and preventative maintenance on your home is just as important as changing the oil in your car. Minor repairs caught early can save you thousands of dollars in repairs down the road. Here are some often over looked aspects of home maintenance:
- Exterior Paint – This thin layer of film not only creates the impression you, your guests and neighbors have about your home but it is also the only barrier your home has between it and the elements. Proper paint and caulking can prevent water damage, pest infestation, and sun damage to the structure of you home. Annual inspections of the exterior of your home followed up by touch up or complete repainting will not only keep your home looking its best, but will also protect your investment for years to come.
- Roofing – So you purchased your home and had a home inspection. The inspector said you have a 30 year roof that is 5 years old. Or maybe you installed a 30 year roof five year ago and now think you can forget about it for the next 25 years. The truth is that 30 year roof will never last that long without repairs and tune-ups. Every five years have a qualified roofer come out and check your flashings, tighten loose shingles, repair nail pops, replace damaged shingles, reseal vents, check and replace the ridge cap, and check for trouble spots such as damage from trees or weather. At least once a year, clean you rain gutters and remove any debris that may have accumulated on the roof through the year. Pine nettles, leaves, and other debris from nearby landscaping can trap moisture and cause damage to you roof. A minor investment in maintenance can save money and prevent water damage to the interior of your home from a leak forming for years and never detected.
- Plumbing – Indoor plumbing is probably one of the most under-appreciated and misunderstood systems in your home. A professional plumbing tune-up can identify minor problems before they become major ones, and ensure your plumbing system is working efficiently and correctly. Here is a list of items that should be checked every 5 years:
- The main shut off valve to the home – If you have an older gate valve style have a newer ball valve install. You will want to make sure you can shut off the water supply if needed.
- Water pressure regulator – Have the water pressure supply to your home checked. If your water supply is above 80 psi. add or replace a pressure regulator. This will insure that you will not have excess pressure on you plumbing system.
- Water shut off valves for sinks, toilets, and refrigerator water supply – Check for leaks and proper operation.
- Traps under sinks for leaks
- Water heater operation
- Water supply hoses – Check your laundry water supply hoses, toilet supply hoses, refrigerator water supply, and sink supply hoses. Make sure they are burst resistant stainless steel braided hoses.
- Pest and Termite – Most Southern California homes will experience a pest or termite infestation. Some of the common culprits and the remedies for them are:
- Dry Wood Termites – The Western Drywood Termite is common in Southern California. This pest flies into your home and sets up its colony eating away at you home leaving destruction and tiny wood pellets in its path. Treatments can include localized or spot treatment by: Chemical, heat, microwaves, and biological or whole house treatment better known as tenting. Then any damaged wood must be replaced.
- Subterranean Termites – This can be the most destructive pest to your home. They are very small in size but colonies can contain hundreds of thousands of individuals. They enter the home through shelter tubes (sometimes called mud tubes). Subterranean Termites can eat away at your homes structure and you will never know they are there. They eat the wood from the inside out and can be hard to detect. Treatment for this pest is different from Drywood Termites since the colony live under ground. Insecticide is injected into the ground to kill the termites where they live.
- Rats, Raccoons, and Opossums – These creatures can enter you home through improperly screened vents, open inspection access points, or damaged areas of the home. They can chew through wiring, plumbing and insulation. Treatment includes trapping and removing and repairing the entry points.
I’ve found through my many years of home ownership and representing Fullerton real estate that one of the best ways to spot and prevent pest and termite problems is with an annual inspection from a competent termite company. They not only look for infestations but also spot plumbing leaks, wood rot, and pest infestations. Annual plans run from $200 to $300, but usually prevent the need for tenting or major wood repair when you sell the home; possibly saving you thousands in the long run.
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