Houses need ongoing maintenance like a car. Car owners know they need to take their car in for oil changes, which include a new oil filter. Your furnace also needs it's filter changed periodically to insure your heating system works efficiently.
There are 100s of home repair books to pick from but few focus on preventive maintenance, with the key word being “preventive”. When you don't perform routine maintenance around your home, damage will occur. Once this happens you have to make repairs, and if the damage is extensive it can mean replacing a window, a door or hot water heater. Unfortunately most homeowners don't realize that routine maintenance helps your home function more efficiently and reduces repair costs.
Maintain, Repair or Replace?
Creative Homeowner's Ultimate Guide to Home Repair and Improvement (shown above) is one of my favorite books. What I love are the wonderful illustrations that include showing the “anatomy of a roof” door, window with terminology explained in a glossary (see the Home Tips 4 Women Glossary). The book is full of graphics and photographs that explain many home materials and installation/repair projects.
Unfortunately, this book also demonstrates the lack of a focus on preventive maintenance from putting together a home maintenance strategy to checklists that help you perform ongoing home maintenance. Breaking homeowner responsibilities down into logical steps, you would expect that after you've purchased a home there would be more maintenance and few repairs unless you started with a punch list from the home inspection report.
The book is more than 600 pages so for this example, we'll just look at the topics listed under windows in the index (omitting roof windows). This simple table does a great job showing that our home repair books are focusing on half the job, the technical “how to” but where is the planning and preventive maintenance guidance to save homeowners money?
Using my experience running a handyman business, here are the top window problems which should be prevented by routine “preventive” home maintenance. They aren't identified anywhere in this book, to help homeowners reduce window repair and replacement costs, along with energy savings.
- Replacing rotted window sills, trim and windows – can be prevented by annually inspecting window sills and scraping/painting as needed to protect the wood from water damage (read Rotted Window Sill and Estimating Repair Costs).
- Replacing window trim and windows – can be prevented by annually inspecting the caulking around the window to insure there are no gaps for water to penetrate. Most important is making sure the flashing at the top of the window was installed correctly (check less frequently).
- Adding insulation between a window and it's rough framing (one time) – can reduce heating/cooling costs and improve the livability of rooms where temperatures can vary by more than twenty degrees.
|Homeowner Responsibilities||Ultimate Guide to Home Repair & Improvement|
|Concepts & Terminology|