Posts Tagged ‘Maintenance’

What to Look for when a Home is 50 Years Old

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Buying an older home can be a very rewarding experience. The architecture is unique, the rooms have character, and it feels more like a home than a brand new, prefabricated home that was built in a development. But, there are quite a few things to keep in mind when buying a house that is 50 years old or more – from what construction materials were used to how it was maintained for the last 50 years.

Possible Safety Issues

Because the dangers of lead paint and asbestos were not yet understood in the 1950s and ‘60s, you should always have your home thoroughly inspected for both before buying. The risk of either being in a 50 year old home is high unless someone has gone to the trouble of removing them in a remodel. Even then, older insulation, hidden paint layers or other construction decisions can be potentially dangerous, especially if you have children.

Not that you should avoid an older home solely for this reason. There are plenty of homes that have been made livable again with a little hard work – it’s just important that you know about it before investing so much money.

Maintenance Issues

Another thing to consider is the upkeep of the house. A 50 year old home has been lived in for many years. That means there have been multiple furnaces and air conditioners, replacements of windows, new roofs put in and much more. How well and how often those things were done will play a major role in determining how good of condition the house is in.

If you buy a 50 year old home and the roof and furnace need to be replaced, that’s another 5 figure investment to update your living space.

Other things you should be on the lookout for are old appliances like your refrigerator and stove, as well as the gas lines and electrical. Your panel box may be outdated, as may your electrical lines and outlets. These are all things that get updated eventually, but a home built 50 years ago would be both unsafe and outdated by today’s standards.

More than anything, when buying an old home, the most important thing is the condition. Age has very little to do with how livable a home is. Some people live comfortably in homes that are 200 years old. Others must have 10 year old homes completely remodeled. It’s all about how the home is maintained and cared for.

Save with Maintenance on HVAC

Friday, July 1st, 2011

You can never save too much money by making improvements and taking steps around the house. Of course, it is hard sometimes to see exactly where the money saving opportunities are. That’s because you expect to spend a certain amount on various types of services when you own a home. You know you are always going to have heating and cooling bills, for instance. But are they higher than they need to be?

For many people, the answer to that question is “yes.” And it is not because they use their home heating and cooling systems inappropriately or because they have the wrong equipment. It is simply because they neglect to get their HVAC systems the regular care and maintenance that would keep them running at peak effectiveness and energy efficiency.

When your HVAC system is new, it runs well and can be remarkably energy efficient. However, over time that energy efficiency will gradually deteriorate. This drop off in efficiency is often not obvious at first, but if you compare your energy bills from the year you got your system to bills for the same time of year and same usage five years later, you will probably notice that the bill has gone up quite a bit, and not just because energy prices have gone up.

You can do a lot to prevent this loss of energy efficiency, though, if you simply have a professional HVAC technician come out once a year and give your system a tune up. During this type of maintenance service, the technician will check over your entire system looking for worn out parts and buildup that could be interfering with your system’s performance.

They can clean out any areas of your HVAC equipment that require it and they will be able to make any necessary repairs at that time. Often, a technician performing this type of maintenance will be able to catch minor issues before they are able to develop into bigger problems. And while you still have to pay for the maintenance visit, the cost is much less than what you would pay for an emergency repair.

It also represents a substantial savings over what you would be paying on your energy bills every month without it. Regular HVAC maintenance can preserve the vast majority of your system’s energy efficiency loss over time, and it is never too late to start. Even if it has been several years since you had your system installed, you will still be able to get back the vast majority of your original energy efficiency by starting with regular maintenance now.

Maintenance Really Does Save Money

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

When it comes to your home heating and cooling systems, you really cannot go wrong with proper annual maintenance. While it may seem like an unnecessary expense, especially if your systems are relatively new, you will save a lot in the long run if you pay that small fee once a year for each system.

During a maintenance visit, a technician can thoroughly clean out your heating or cooling system and check all parts to make sure they are not showing signs of excessive wear and tear. If they do find a problem or a part that needs to be replaced, they will be able to make the necessary repairs quickly and you will not have to worry about calling someone out later for an emergency visit.

Also, catching problems early like this means that repairs will likely involve fewer parts and cost much less than they would if you let the problem go and it became more widespread. The truth is that your heating or cooling system can continue to work when one or another of its parts is not working correctly, but that means that other parts of the system have to work overtime to create the same result.

Your heating or cooling system will also be much more energy efficient if it receives regular tune ups and attention from a professional. Even the best new systems lose a small percentage of their efficiency each year that they are in operation. While this is not much from year to year, the cumulative effect will soon cause your energy bills to climb higher than necessary.

Paying for regular maintenance, then, can actually save you money because it will mean you pay less each month to run your system. And it is never too late to start. Even if your heating or cooling system is not new, it will benefit from a thorough cleaning and tune up. You may be quite surprised how much your energy bills go down after this type of service has been performed.

Annual maintenance can also help you to get more for your money by extending the useful life of the heating or cooling system. Many systems that are properly maintained can last even beyond their expected life span, meaning that you will not have to replace it as soon as you would have otherwise. For all of these reasons, the minimal cost of an annual maintenance visit is well worth paying over the long term.

Maintenance: Why You Should Have Your Furnace Serviced Every Heating Season

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Particularly if you’ve just purchased a new furnace, it’s probably not something you think about all that much. As long as it works when you need it to, that is. Unfortunately you usually find out that something is wrong with your furnace just when you need it most. However, there is a way to avoid that kind of problem, and many others, and that’s to have regular maintenance service performed on your furnace by a home heating professional every year.

One of the main reasons to have your furnace serviced is that it allows technicians to catch small problems before they become large ones. During a typical maintenance visit, a technician will examine all parts of your furnace to ensure that they are still in good working order. He’ll also thoroughly clean out the unit to make sure there are no buildups of debris that could cause problems or impede the furnace’s energy efficiency.

And if they do find something wrong like a part that’s beginning to wear out or something that just isn’t working properly, the technician can make the necessary repairs right away. You can get the problem taken care of ahead of time and you won’t have to worry about going without heat during the coldest part of the winter.

That’s not the only reason that annual maintenance is important and beneficial, however. It can also help you save money, both on your monthly energy bills and in the long term. That’s because annual maintenance tune ups keep your furnace functioning at peak efficiency levels longer than they would be able to otherwise.

A typical furnace will lose a small percentage of its energy efficiency every year, and while it won’t seem like a lot at first, that can really add up over the course of a couple of years. With regular maintenance, though, you can often maintain up to 95% of your furnace’s original efficiency for the life of the furnace.

Plus, when the proper maintenance and service is performed on a regular basis, your furnace will simply last longer. Most furnaces purchased now will last between 10 and 15 years, and with proper care, you can help to ensure that your furnace reaches the upper limit of this span or even beyond.