Owning a house brings with it many responsibilities. Some parts of upkeep and maintenance are easy to remember. For example, if you forget to mow your lawn, you’ll notice it when the grass becomes overgrown. But there are many things homeowners should remember to do on a regular basis that are all too easy to forget about in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives.
For at least a couple of nights every spring, New Orleanians are reminded that there are a lot of termites in the area when the flying insects swarm. The strong termite presence in the Crescent City is why homeowners should pay for an annual pest control and treatment.
“Termites can enter a home and sometimes only damage a small area, or if the problem persists and goes unchecked, they can literally eat through some or most of the wood inside the home from walls to ceiling joists to roof rafters. Lots of times you don’t find out [the damage is there] until it’s too late,” said Zachary Tyson, owner of Tyson Construction.
Tyson added that these repairs can sometimes cost tens of thousands of dollars. Hiring a professional to check your home for termites will only cost a few hundred dollars a year.
Machi Medrzycki, founder of MLM Incorporated, said one telltale warning sign of termite damage is mud trails up the support piers or the outer foundation of your house. These trails are often no wider than a pencil or straw.
New Orleanians don’t need to be told they live in a volatile weather climate. There is extreme heat and humidity, plus significant amounts of rain annually even if no tropical storms land in the area that year. Homeowners should get their roofs inspected by a licensed roofing contractor every five to 10 years.
“Sealing around roof penetrations, checking to make sure your roof and attic ventilation is working properly, along with sealing any exposed nails and securing shingles will help keep your roof in the best condition possible,” Tyson said.
If you’re adventurous enough to inspect your own roof, Medrzycki said one warning sign with roofing shingles is if they seem to glitter or sparkle in the sunlight. This means the shingles are losing lamination and will be easier to uplift during a storm.
Medrzycki said houses’ HVAC units should be serviced twice a year, once before the summer season taxes air conditioning units and once before the winter strains heating units. He added that air conditioning filters should be replaced every month. If filters aren’t replaced, dust can jam the air conditioner’s moving parts.
Tyson said you should inspect your windows and doors and any other area that might require caulking once a year. Updating weatherstripping around windows can seal out hot or cold air. Caulking windows and doors can prevent leaks, which can potentially save homeowners hundreds of dollars in repairs due to water damage.
Another important piece of regular maintenance is cleaning your gutters. If leaves, pine needles and other debris are allowed to clog gutters, the water can back up and seep into your house. Water damage from maintenance issues is not something a homeowner’s insurance will cover.
“It’s something a lot of people keep forgetting about,” Medrzycki said.
At the end of the day, Medrzycki said many homeowners forget to make these checkups because they’re not glamorous or exciting. Redoing a kitchen, a bathroom, or a living space can be fun and produce results you will see and appreciate every day in your home. However, many of the most important checkups are about issues that are either invisible or unnoticed. But they can cost homeowners a lot in money and headaches if ignored.
“People want to spend money on stuff that’s pleasing to the eye,” Medrzycki said. “Aesthetic stuff should come second, but more often than not it doesn’t.”