Roof, Foundation and HVAC: How to Effectively Maintain the Big 3

Repairs are a fact of life when you own rental properties. A dishwasher quits working. An electrical outlet shorts out. A sink or tub backs up.

But those are relatively minor issues with relatively simple solutions. There are three big areas, though, where you want to avoid repairs at all costs:

  • Roof
  • Foundation
  • HVAC

Roof, foundation and HVAC repairs are exceedingly expensive and time-consuming, and the expense cuts deeply into your cash flow. The best way to avoid costly repairs in these three areas is through regular, effective maintenance.

Here’s a look at things to watch for and services to schedule if you want to keep your property’s roof, foundation and HVAC in great shape.

  1. Roof

A roof made of asphalt shingles (the most common roofing material) should last about 20 years. If you take the right preventative maintenance measures, your roof can last a lot longer. But, if you fail to maintain your roof, it may need replacement much sooner than 20 years after install.

The single best thing you can do for your roof: keep it clear of debris. Make sure that any limbs near your roof are trimmed back so that they won’t scrape during a storm or on a windy afternoon. And, even if your limbs are trimmed back, sweep or blow fallen debris from your roof on a regular basis.

Leaves, branches and other debris can wear down your roof, and debris can create harmful ice dams during the cold winter months.

What to Look For: Regularly check for missing, broken or cracked shingles. Examine seals around chimneys and skylights to ensure their integrity. Finally, watch out for moisture in the attic, which is a sure sign of roofing issues.

Service Schedule: You should scope out the roof a few times a year, most often during transitions from one season to another. If you have a roof made of asphalt shingles, schedule a professional inspection once every three years.

Price of Replacement: Replacing an asphalt shingle roof will cost between $3.50 and $5.50 per square foot. So, if you own a 2,000-square-foot home, expect to pay around $9,000 on the low end and closer to $16,000 on the high end.

  1. Foundation

Water is the biggest threat to your property’s foundation. If water fails to drain properly from around your home, foundation issues could be in your future.

So, if you want to avoid foundation problems, install rain gutters and check for proper grading. Also, avoid planting trees and shrubs too close to your home, as their root systems can eventually affect your foundation. And, finally, use a sprinkler system to ensure the soil around your home’s foundation gets just enough moisture to prevent shrinking during dry seasons — which can also impact the foundation.

What to Look For: Keep an eye out for water pooling around your home’s base during rainstorms. Cracks in your home’s exterior or interior walls can also indicate foundation issues. And beware of doors that suddenly fail to close or floors that suddenly become uneven.

Service Schedule: It’s best to set calendar alerts to self-inspect your property for foundation issues at least once or twice a year. There’s no need to call a professional unless you notice any of the warning signs listed above.

Price of Repair: The price of repairing a foundation depends on the severity of your issues. For example, you can repair minor cracks and damage for less than $1,000. But, if your foundation problems require hydraulic piers, the cost of repair shoots up to $10,000 or more.

  1. HVAC

Here in Texas, HVAC systems are essential for survival. Can you imagine a sweltering summer without air conditioning or a North Texas winter without heat?

The best way to keep your HVAC system working effectively is to regularly change out the filter. Also, look regularly for damage to your ducts, and keep brush and debris from growing around your outdoor unit.

Finally, be sure to schedule regular maintenance by an HVAC professional. The best time of year to schedule HVAC maintenance is spring, just before the unit starts to do its heavy lifting through summer. An HVAC professional can identify emerging issues and make minor repairs before they spiral into more serious (and more expensive) emergency repairs.

What to Look For: There are obvious signs your HVAC system needs attention (like hot air blowing out of vents while AC is engaged) and not-so-obvious signs (like an increase in the frequency of cycles). If and when you suspect there’s an issue, call a professional to check it out.

Service Schedule: Ideally, you would have a professional inspect your HVAC system twice a year — once just before summer and once just before winter. Once a year is OK, too.

Price of Replacement: The price of replacement depends on the size of your property and the size of the HVAC unit it needs. You can buy a new HVAC system and have it installed for as little as $4,000, but larger properties and larger HVAC units will cost $8,000 or more.

Let Us Worry About Regular Maintenance

Having a hard time keeping up with maintenance at your properties? At HUNTAHOME, we are experts on property management in Dallas and Fort Worth. We keep up with regular maintenance schedules so that our clients don’t have to, and we arrange cost-effective repairs when needed, too. If you need property management in Fort Worth or Dallas, trust the team you’ll find at HUNTAHOME.

Contact us today to learn more about our DFW property management services.