By Marianne Delorey, Ph.D.
“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” —John F. Kennedy
Starting 2022 off well may mean different things to different people. Many people (myself included) want to be more organized and more mindful of finances. Fortunately, one area of emphasis can do both – preventive maintenance.
While these pointers are likely a review for our elder homeowners, they can serve as a useful reminder if you have recently moved. Both as a homeowner and a landlord, here are some of the important lessons (many learned the hard way) that I have learned along the way:
- Know your limits. Maybe you are really handy. If so, good for you. But even handy people have limits. Know when you should call a professional and know when you need to pull a permit. Unsure? Then you are probably already out of your depth. The professional plumber/electrician/whatever is going to save you money in the long run.
- Write down your preventive maintenance schedule including what to do, when to do it, when it was last done, and any notes on how to do it. This includes things like draining hoses and shutting off the outside water before the first hard frost so you don’t break temperature-sensitive plumbing.
- Safety first. Make sure to include replacing batteries at least annually on your preventive maintenance list. This could save lives. This year when doing it, make sure you write the date the detector was purchased (and when it should be replaced) and the type of battery needed so you are not fumbling for the right info when you need it.
- Remember the items that you should be doing monthly or weekly. Make sure you put these items in your calendar or to-do list so you don’t forget them.
- Have handy a spreadsheet of information about the major assets in your home, the make and model, year purchased, and any details. Keep this info on the cloud. If your refrigerator goes, you will need to give this information to the appliance repair person and if they know what brand, they might be able to get a few parts before they even show up at your house.
- Video the home and its contents yearly. In the event of a catastrophic loss, your video will help you remember what contents you had so you can report the information to your insurance company. A five-minute video is probably all you need.
- Know your shutoffs, water, electric main, oil switch, etc. Knowing where to go in a crisis will reduce your reaction time.
- Have a list of reputable vendors handy. Make a list of plumbers, electricians, pest control people and anything else. If you are able, make a point to have them come out before there is a crisis.
- Know your area. Find out where the closest fire hydrant is. Look around for the slope near the property and how significant rains might affect things.
- Know your neighbors. Your neighbors may see a problem before you do. Make sure to introduce yourself and establish a good relationship.
Whether or not 2022 will offer you a new living environment, use this opportunity to get (re)acquainted with your house and stay on top of its needs. Your organized efforts will save you money in the long run.