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Home Maintenance: An Ounce of Prevention is Worth More Than a Pound of Cure

This old adage is pure truth.

It can be helpful to think of your home, and its health, in the same way that you might about your body and its health, except for one difference: your home doesn’t possess the miraculous ability to heal itself. When we are sick, our immune system takes charge and works hard to put everything right again. We are our home’s immune system, if you will. The good news is a little preventative maintenance can save time and significant dollars down the road. Think: brushing your teeth, getting enough rest, staying hydrated and eating healthy in order to prevent health problems.

Applying this strategy to your home is as easy as starting with the inspection report you received when you first purchased your home. Along with a sometimes alarming list of your home’s defects are also tips on what major systems need in terms of ongoing maintenance (such as seasonal servicing of HVAC units and regular replacement or cleaning of air filters). At the end of the report, there is usually also a section on maintenance tips or general facts about your home that require ongoing monitoring (such as removing outside water hoses before the first freeze and cleaning your gutters in the fall when trees drop their leaves). In addition, your home inspector is often willing to answer questions about your home well beyond the day of inspection. Use this valuable resource.

It might be helpful to create a binder with a schedule of home maintenance tasks by date, paid invoices from past tradespeople as a record of services performed and contact information and notes for future recommended service work.

Homes are in a constant state of disrepair. A small amount of judiciously applied prevention keeps these problems small and decreases the chances that they mushroom into something significant and expensive, protecting what is likely one of our biggest and most important investments.