Written by: Katie Conroy
Managing property repair to help homeowners grow, but without proper maintenance, it can quickly become a nightmare. It’s important to know which projects you should take on and when you should call a pro. If you try to tackle more complex tasks and something goes awry, you may find yourself with a bigger mess on your hands than when you started. Not only can this cost you thousands of dollars, but it could affect your home’s market value.
To help you determine what’s best left to the pros, CHConstruction put together this helpful guide so you make the best decision for your most valuable asset.
Your furnace is on the fritz
Your furnace is essential to keeping you and your loved ones cozy and warm in the winter. If it starts acting up or stops working altogether, you may need to replace it. You can try checking the filter and changing it yourself if it’s dirty. But if you have a bigger problem on your hands, then it’s time to call a pro.
First, have a professional stop by to assess whether a repair will do the trick (the average repair costs $289). If your furnace can’t be repaired, have them install a new one. It’s a complex job as the new furnace must be integrated into your whole heating and cooling system and linked up to elements like air filtration.
Furnaces are not cheap, and you don’t want to run the risk of botching a repair or installation job yourself. According to HVAC.com, the average cost for a new installation runs from $1,795 to $6,290, although prices vary depending on the make and model. This is why it’s so important to work with a reputable contractor.
Your windows aren’t what they used to be
On the surface, window installation and repair seems like it might be a pretty easy DIY endeavor. The reality is that it needs to be handled by a professional.
Your windows and doors have to be installed carefully and balanced perfectly so they open and close to meet safety standards. And if you live in a historic building, you may be required to follow renovation guidelines. In this case, you can’t just pop into the hardware store and find a matching window.
Your appliances are ailing
If your major appliances — e.g. washer, drying, fridge — are breaking down, it’s time to call in a professional contractor for appliance repair. The right pro will have all the know-how and be able to source the brand-name product of your choosing, if you have yet to do so. As you narrow down your contractor search be sure to ask whether they have experience fixing the type of appliance in need of repair, and, in addition to checking for positive online reviews, ask for additional referrals from past customers.
The septic tank is acting up
If you have a space on your property that can’t be linked to your main wastewater management system, you likely have a septic system in place. This consists of two main parts: a septic tank and a drain field.
Although septic systems are efficient and effective, a small problem with the system can have messy consequences. Realtor.com explains signs of septic failure include sewage backup coming from toilets, sinks, or drains; gurgling sounds in the plumbing; bad smells around the septic tank or drainfield; and particularly spongy and lush grass around the drainfield even if it hasn’t been raining.
Given the environmental and health hazards that come with mismanaging wastewater, you should always consult an expert on septic issues. Expect routine pumping to cost $282 to $525, and if your system needs to be replaced it can cost anywhere from $6,000 to $50,000.
Your roof has sprung a leak
A new roof is among the most expensive home repairs, costing at least $5,000 depending on the size of your property. It’s important to take care of issues with the roof immediately. If you don’t have it fixed quickly, you run the risk of water getting into your home and damaging more than just the roof. You could ruin furniture or clothing, for example, or even electrical wiring or insulation in the ceilings and walls if they get damp.
Don’t try to skimp by tackling this job yourself. For one thing, it can be dangerous. A professional will have the experience, safety training, and knowledge to do the job without getting hurt. For another, Guardian Home points out that you don’t want to do a faulty job and have to reinvest in new materials for a second job to be done by a professional.
Regardless of whether you plan to sell your home anytime soon, it’s important to keep your receipts and estimates organized. This can help you in the event of a warranty issue, and it could come in handy whenever it’s time for an appraisal. To eliminate having too many papers to file, digitize all receipts and documents. This is a great way to keep everything all in one place. And you can minimize your file sizes or avoid multiple files when you opt to combine PDFs into one file. This frees up space on your hard drive, and ensures your home improvement files are neat and tidy.
While you might be tempted to take a DIY approach to all your home repairs, this can often backfire. You might hurt yourself or incur more costly damages. Don’t take these risks. Instead, hire a professional when you need to.
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