Can proper Maintenance can increase the value of your home?

Yes. There's no question that careful maintenance can pay dividends when it's time to sell your home. A neat, well-maintained house can be expected to generate more traffic, and quite possibly a faster sale for a better price, than a comparable house in less desirable condition. The same goes for home improvements, even minor ones like minor kitchen remodeling or new bathroom wall coverings.

Even if you're not planning on moving in the forseeable future, keeping up with routine maintenance will pay big dividends in the long run. For one thing, it will save you considerable time, trouble and expense when you are finally ready to sell. And for another, it's certain to make home ownership a more rewarding, worry-free experience for you and your family.

Best of all, home maintenance doesn't have to cost a lot, in terms of time and money. Even if you're not a weekend do-it-yourselfer, there are steps you can take right now to keep your home in top shape, inside and out.

You can get more enjoyment in your home, and save money along the way, just by making a quick inspection every few months. This "TLC" list includes some important safety, economy, and comfort considerations that you shouldn't overlook.


* Make sure handrails and posts on stairways are secure. Replace when necessary with inexpensive bracket hardware.

* Test all household alarms, especially smoke and carbon monoxide alarms; change batteries frequently. And don't forget the doorbell!

* Make sure drains are running smoothly. Check traps and basement waste pipes, then check the main water line and shutoff.

* Inspect the basement for any damp spots, especially in corners. If you catch these areas early, a little waterproofing compound will usually do the trick. Wrap your cold-water pipes with foam rubber insulation. It prevents pipe "sweating" in summer and freezing in winter.


* Keep gutters sloped toward the downsprout, and keep them free of leaves and twigs.

* Keep basement windows in good order. Consider window well-covers to keep out leaves and rain.

* Flashing is where a roof or wall meets a chimney or skylight. Check the seals in these areas to see if they're secure.

* Replace individual shingles when worn or loose.

* Use wire screening to keep insects and birds from nesting in roof ventilation areas.

* Lubricate garage door hardware and hinges.

* Fill and seal driveway cracks when necessary.

 When everything in your home seems to be running fine, it's very tempting just to let maintenance go until next year. Do your best to overcome that temptation!

Get into the habit of sticking to a regular schedule of maintenance for the systems and equipment in your home. You'll catch most little problems before they get big, and that can add up to enormous equipment and energy savings. Of course, the added benefit is the peace of mind that comes with being sure that everything in your home is running the way it was meant to.

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