Home ownership is not without its challenges. One of the largest challenges can be the frequent cost of critical replacements and repairs. Here are some of the most common areas of attention your home might need and typical costs of fixing the problem1:
- Roof -- There’s no putting this repair off. A leaky roof can cause water and mold damage to walls, floors and belongings triggering both structural and health concerns. The cost is hard to calculate since repairs can range from patching a small area to a complete replacement. The price tag of that might vary dramatically depending on the size of the roof as well as other factors.
- HVAC systems -- Furnaces and air conditioning systems experience wear and tear and will eventually need replacing. Replace filters to keep furnaces and air conditioners running longer and more efficiently. Furnaces typically last 12 to 18 years. Gas furnaces should be serviced annually. The cost of furnace replacement can range from about $3,000 to $15,000, depending on the size of the home and other factors.
- Plumbing -- A hot water heater typically lasts around 10 to 12 years and can cost roughly $250 to $1,500 to replace. Older homes might have plumbing systems with galvanized iron water pipes which can clog with mineral deposits over time. This can eventually cause reduced water pressure and even result in frozen or burst pipes. Septic tanks and sump pumps are other plumbing-related elements that might result in steep investments.
- Electrical systems -- Hiring a licensed and experienced electrician to handle projects around your home might be costlier than bringing in your brother-in-law who’s done a little under-the-table electrical work during off-hours. But it’s safer and a much better investment. A licensed electrician will see that all work is of the highest quality and meets the current code. Don’t save a few dollars at the possibility of fire or future repairs.
- Appliances -- No matter how gently you use them, all appliances will eventually need to be replaced. Here’s what you’re up against in terms of typical product lifetimes and replacement costs2: Dishwashers (10 years lifetime), $300 - $700; refrigerator (15 years), $600 - $2,500; kitchen ranges (8-12 years), $500 - $4,500; washers/dryers (13 years), $400 - $1,200.
- Lawn and grounds -- Here, your main cost might be a lawn mower, which can range from a few hundred dollars for a used push mower to a few thousand dollars for a state-of-the-art new riding mower. Regularly removing leaves from gutters and trimming tree branches can reduce the likelihood of expensive damage to roofs and drainage systems.
The real answer to the cost challenge is to be as proactive in-home maintenance and repairs as possible. This can reduce the risk of coming home to a flooded or cold home or other stiff home repair penalty.
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