The charms of living in an older home can be many – history, style, craftsmanship, quirks. But there’s no denying that living in such a home has its challenges. Maintenance can be tricky and expensive, especially if certain systems and features have been neglected over the years. Let’s take a look at some common situations found in many older homes:
- Energy inefficiency is probably the number one issue with older homes. Most older homes were constructed with single-pane windows; if these windows are still in use, they likely don’t fit very well. Replacement windows can be very expensive, but will contribute immensely to reduced energy use and lower heating and cooling costs. Most replacement windows are available in several styles and at different price points, so finding ones that suit the look of an older home is easier than ever.
- Like single-pane windows, poor insulation will also waste energy and money – and make living in the home uncomfortable. The most important and easiest area of the home to insulate is the attic, but walls and floors above ventilated crawlspaces should be insulated as well if possible. The attic may already have insulation but it may be inadequate by current standards.
- If the home has older water pipes, they should be checked to identify the material and determine if they need to be replaced. Some older materials such as galvanized steel, iron, and even lead are still in use today even though new construction doesn’t allow them. Replacement options include copper and CPVC piping.
- Outdated electrical systems can still sometimes be found in older homes and may not only be dangerous, they can make the house uninsurable in some situations. Even if no danger is present, we use much more electricity in our homes today and the capacity of older systems may be inadequate. Only a qualified electrician should attempt any repairs or updates to a home’s electrical system.
With careful maintenance and a nod to history, older homes can be comfortable, stylish, and even energy efficient in the right hands.
With summer just around the corner, now is a great time to get your home in top shape for the months ahead. Whatever your weather, caring for your home now will help to ensure a worry-free, comfortable summer. Follow a few of these tips each week and enjoy the rest of the season knowing that your home is in good shape.
- Vacuum or brush off refrigerator coils to help maintain energy efficiency. Depending on your model, the coils will be located either on the bottom or on the back of the appliance.
- Empty dehumidifier pans and clean the hoses according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- If possible, take area rugs outside and hang them over a deck or porch rail to air out.
- Adjust ceiling fans for proper balance and change the rotation to the summer setting. While you’re at it, give the unit a good dusting to avoid blowing dust around the room.
- Switch out heavy bedding for lightweight summer fabrics. Have the winter bedding cleaned before storing it away for the season.
- Close the chimney flue to prevent insects from entering and to help keep cool air in during the months ahead.
- Repot houseplants to give their roots a fresh start for the summer.
- Check door and cabinet hinges and lubricate any that stick or squeak.
- Open windows even on cooler days to get fresh air flowing throughout the home.
- Inspect siding for cracks or other damage and make any needed repairs.
- If paint is peeling, cracking, or chipped, repair and repaint now to limit damage to the underlying materials.
- Remove window screens and clean them with a soft brush and soapy water. Rinse well and allow them to dry in the sun. Repair any holes or tears, or replace the screen material before reinstalling. It’s a fairly easy DIY job to replace the screening, or you can check to see if your local hardware store offers this service.
- Have the air conditioning unit serviced to ensure good operation. Promote good air intake by keeping shrubs and plants around the unit trimmed.
- Clear dirt and debris from gutters and eaves.
- Seal cracks in the driveway and keep walkways clear of debris and overgrown plants.
- Test irrigation and sprinkler systems and replace any broken sprinkler heads or emitters. Check for proper water coverage and adjust if necessary.
- Power wash decks and patios and seal surfaces as appropriate.
From all of us at Pillar To Post, here’s wishing you and your home a wonderful summer!