How to save money on home repairs this summer – just by walking around!
Spring has sprung here in the Midwest (I know, most don’t consider Kansas to be part of the Midwest…but, Kansas is in the middle of the country, and we are west of the Mississippi, so I hope you’ll humor me). A couple of Saturdays ago, I took my yearly “spring walk”. I found some interesting results – and it helped me realize just how important an early spring review of the condition of our homes can be. It can save you money, if you know what to look for.
My spring walk is not a power walk around the neighborhood. And it’s not all about fitness and enjoying the weather, although both are involved. I’m talking about the first chance you have to walk around your yard, really take a look at your home and the entire property, and take stock of the current condition of our home. Until/unless our home and every aspect of our property gets connected to the I.O.T. (internet of things) – we’re obligated to do this the old fashioned way. Put on your boots and get out there and see how winter has impacted your home!
I was surprised by how much can change in just a few short months. It seems the juniper, which I’ve been watching closely, as the branches inched ever closer to my electrical service line, actually grew noticeably over the winter. How does that happen? Trees are not supposed GROW in winter, right?
The main intent of my spring walk is to hunt (this is about as close as I get to hunting these days) for items I need to move to the top of my maintenance list. I mainly search for conditions that need quick action – items that will create a long-term problem, or cost me more in the long run, if I don’t handle or correct them soon,
The limb on the power line is a prime example. If I don’t solve this problem soon, that branch might bring that power line down during the next storm, and then I have a big ticket repair on my hands. What could have been a fairly inexpensive maintenance item, becomes a very expensive emergency repair. Better to solve the small problem, than hope against the big ticket one.
Another key item I focus on during my spring walk: yard safety. This one is near and dear to my heart, as I spent most of a summer a few years ago, not able to walk. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say – when your lawnmower shoots a landscaping staple into your foot…it hurts. A LOT. I now pay a lot of attention to items in the yard, PRIOR to the first mowing. During the spring walk, I look for anything that may have somehow landed in my yard, anything that looks like a projectile. Do you have kids (or are there kids in your neighborhood)? You may find some surprises. Kids have been known to say they’re going to pick something up, only to find it again after the snow melts! So, as you walk, pay attention…you never know what you might discover!
In my next few blog posts, I’ll go over a some of the more important items to watch for around your home as spring arrives. I’ll also share a spring maintenance checklist to help walk you through the more significant items that need to be reviewed. I hope you return for the next post – or better yet – subscribe to be notified when the next post hits, by clicking HERE
So…what was up with the dented roof vent? Upon first inspection, it didn’t look like hail (besides, we haven’t had a hail storm in the year and a half we’ve lived in this house). None of the other vents were in the same condition. I was a bit perplexed. Then, a few mornings later, just before dawn, my eldest daughter came downstairs and informed me that there was a really odd noise in our attic. She said it sounded like a fan trying to turn on (we have a temperature-controlled attic exhaust fan that sometimes makes noise in the heat of summer).
The sound wasn’t consistent, and did in fact sound just like a small motor trying to start up – rapid clicking or tapping. We both stood in the hallway as the sound recurred every 60 seconds or so, but only lasted for 5-10 seconds each time. It took me a while, but on about the fourth cycle through, I was pretty sure I knew what was causing the sound.
I told Hannah to sit tight, and I ran outside and quietly climbed onto our roof. I approached the ridge slowly, in an effort to sneak up on the sound. As I neared the ridge, I looked in the direction of the sound, and sure enough, there was our friendly neighborhood woodpecker, going to town on the dented metal roof vent! This little guy has a problem. I don’t care how hard he works, I don’t think he’s going to be able to make a home in that vent. And if he doesn’t stop, he and I are going to have a real problem.
We have some creative ideas on how to encourage Woody to hit the road. Stay tuned to see who wins this battle – my money is on the home team!
BTW – my goal for this blog, and Home Intentional, is to teach, train and motivate homeowners to do effective, efficient, consistent home maintenance. If you have any questions about your home – please let me know! You can email me on the contact page, or just click HERE.
Thanks for reading!
PS – I discovered that this foundation crack had expanded slightly over the winter. Next post – I’ll tell you why this type of crack doesn’t worry me at all.