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The 6 Most Important Home Repairs (Fix These Now to Save Yourself Big $$$$ in the Future)

If you are going to skip, don’t neglect these particular home repairs:

 The Price of Neglect

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In this economy,  you may be tempted to delay or even skip minor home  maintenance repairs, cleaning jobs and inspections  in your home. But don’t be penny-wise and dollar-foolish. That $200 or $300 you  save today could result in expenditures of $3,000 or even tens of thousands next  month or next year if hidden problems in your home go unnoticed and become worse. Consider coughing up a little dough to take care of these small  jobs before they morph into gigantic, expensive jobs later.

 
   1.) Annual HVAC  Inspection
                                                         

Cost: $200-$300, depending on where you  live.

How often: at least once a year.

When: spring or fall.  Heating, ventilation and air conditioning, or HVAC companies aren’t as busy, and you’re not in dire need of heat or air conditioning.

What an inspection might find:  The furnace blower is not working  properly. Cost to repair or replace: $100-$150. Possible consequence of  letting it go: a broken heat exchanger. Potential savings down the road:  $300-$1,000 to replace the heat exchanger or $750-$3,500, depending on the  energy efficiency, to replace indoor or outdoor furnace components.

The reversing switch in the heat pump  is broken. Cost to repair or replace: $100-$300. Letting it go results in  no heat from the heat pump, and the system switches to a more  expensive auxiliary heat. Potential savings: lower  heating bills.

Bottom line: “Things that  happen often happen at the worst possible time in the worse possible conditions  and you’re looking at the maximum rate,” says Terry Townsend of Townsend  Engineering in Chattanooga, Tenn., and former president of the American Society  of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. Remember, continual  maintenance prolongs the life of the equipment. “You’re sitting there with an investment of thousands in your HVAC  system and you’re investing a few hundred dollars in maintenance.”

2.) Chimney  Inspection

Cost: $65 for an inspection; $150 for  inspection and cleaning, including removal of creosote buildup, which may lead  to a chimney fire.

How often: once a year.When: before your first fire in winter. What an inspection might find:  There’s no chimney cap. – Cost to add:  $150.

If you let it go, rain water can get into your chimney, damage the chimney  liner and damper, and even saturate mortar joints — causing mold.

Potential savings:  $2,000-$4,000 to replace the chimney liner.

Other problems may include: a cracked chimney crown, which can be  repaired for $300-$500; chimney flashing that needs caulking, which  can be done for $80-$100; and waterproofing the exterior brick, $350-$600. All  these fixes will prevent rainwater from getting in and mold from forming.

Bottom line: “A simple  chimney cleaning can prevent chimney fires and damage to your entire house,”  says Ray Gessner, a licensed professional engineer and owner of A Step in Time  Chimney Sweeps, with offices in the eastern U.S. “Water is the No. 1 problem  with chimneys. With water damage, you might need to have your whole chimney  rebuilt.”

3.) Termite Inspection
                                                                         
Cost: $75-$200 for an inspection;
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       $200-$300 for a termite protection contract for qualifying homes with no current evidence of termites to cover treatment and repairs for any future infestation.
How often: once a year.
When: any time, although termites are more  active in spring and early summer.

An inspection might find subterranean termites that come from the ground or  flying termites. If left untreated, these bugs damage framing, trim, drywall,  furniture, carpet, copper and other soft metals. Termites cause more than $5  billion in damages a year in the U.S., says Paul Curtis, entomologist for  Terminix, The average homeowner loss for termite damage is  $3,000, but losses can be as high as $30,000 or even $80,000, Curtis says. Most homeowners  insurance does not cover repair of termite  damage.

Bottom line: “Termites eat  the wood from the inside out,” Curtis says. “A typical homeowner would not be  aware they are even in their home until months or years after they get in and  start causing damage. A lot of people don’t realize that termites don’t just  feed on the home. They’ll eat flooring, insulation, books — I’ve even seen them  penetrate through swimming pool liners.”

4.) Power washing  and sealing wood deck

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Cost: $100-$300 for a 200-square-foot  deck, more for a larger deck.

How often: every one to three years, depending on the amount of traffic, moss and mold.

When: any time in sunny weather.

Power washing gets rid of stains, algae, mold, mildew and moss. Algae and  mold can make your deck slippery and dangerous, says Justin Lee of JL Power  Washing in Williamsburg, Va. Sealing your deck  after it is cleaned helps prevent water damage. Wood soaks up rain like a  sponge, expands and then shrinks, Lee says. Sealing makes the water bead up and  roll off. And let’s not forget — your deck will look nicer, too.

If you let it go, your deck will warp, nails will pop out and the deck  won’t last as long.

Potential savings: $4,000 to $20,000 or  more to replace your deck, depending on size.

Bottom line: “A properly  cleaned and sealed wood deck can last 20 to 30 years,” Lee  says.

5.) Dryer Vent Cleaning

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Cost: $120-$200.

How often: every year.

When: a sunny day.

The purpose is to get rid of lint buildup. If your dryer  is not on an exterior wall, it’s likely that the vent leading outside is clogged  up, says Gessner of,  A Step in Time Chimney Sweeps.

If you ignore it, the result could be a disastrous fire. “Once the vent gets  clogged, the dryer starts overheating and it can catch on fire,” Gessner says.  “Dryer fires are very dangerous.”

Potential savings: your home, your  furnishings, your belongings and your life.

Bottom line: “I had been airing a radio commercial talking about the importance of dryer vent cleaning  for about a month when three people (in our area) died in a fire caused by a dryer vent fire,” Gessner says.

6.) Carpet  cleaning

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Cost: about 50 cents per square foot for hot water extraction cleaning, or $500 for 1,000 square feet of cleaned carpet.

How often: every 12 months; more often for  high-traffic areas and homes with small children, pets or smokers.  Manufacturers’ warranties may require cleaning every 18 to 24 months. You can save money by focusing on regular cleanings for high-traffic areas and waiting up  to two years for the entire carpet.

When: any time.

If the carpet looks dirty, you’ve waited too long because some soil can’t be  removed with vacuuming. This soil will bind to your carpet and dull the texture,  shortening the life of the carpet.

Your home also will be healthier with pollen, bacteria, insecticides and dirt  removed, says Howard Partridge, founder and president of Clean as a Whistle, a  cleaning company outside Houston.

Potential savings: extending the life of  your carpet. Replacing 1,000 square feet of medium-grade carpet, including  padding and installation, costs about $3,000.

Bottom line: “One of my  neighbors had to replace his carpet in less than four years,” Partridge says.  “And his carpet looked terrible the whole time. I’ve been able to keep my carpet  for 12 years now.”

Home  maintenance resources:

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Learn how to save money and protect your investment at the same time.

If you need names of great people who can come out to make these repairs to your home, please don’t hesitate to email me for referrals:

bbesserer@briggsfreeman.com

Our office has a whole list of people who we rate and use for these repairs…. Reliable people to do the job and affordable prices as well!

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