One of the benefits of buying a new home is the savings that come from reduced energy consumption and few maintenance expenses.
About 75 percent of owners of new homes spent less than $25 a month on routine maintenance costs, according to a study by the American Housing Survey, which is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The AHS defines a new home as no more than four years old.
The study indicated that 26 percent of owners of homes older than four years spent more than $100 a month on various upkeep expenses.
The findings were similar for energy consumption. On average, the owners of new homes spent 65 cents per square foot per year for electricity; owners of older homes spent 78 cents per square foot per year.
For new homes with gas service, owners spent an average of 38 cents per square foot per year; owners of older homes spent 53 cents per square foot per year for gas consumption in the home.
However, whether you buy a new home or an older home, it’s likely to be the biggest investment you will ever make. Regular maintenance of the home is imperative to ensure its value and functionality for years to come.
Here’s some good advice about routine maintenance of new homes from the National Association of Home Builders.
Homeowners should change the air conditioning/heating system filters in their homes every 30 to 90 days, depending on the quality and rating of the filters that they’re using. Don’t risk damaging your system because you didn’t take a few minutes to routinely change the filter.
Cleanliness is an important home-maintenance responsibility. Dust and dirt, if allowed to accumulate, can damage the finishes on blinds, cabinets, countertops, floors, sinks, tubs, toilets, walls, tile and the operating systems in your home.
It’s a very good idea to clean and oil the moving parts of garage doors every three to four months.
The screen in your faucets’ aerators should be cleaned every three to four months. Faucet washers, which dry out over time, should be monitored for any tears and leakage. It’s a good idea to change faucet washers before you see tears and water on your counters.
Run only cold water, never hot water, through the garbage disposal in your sink to avoid problems with that unit.
You can clean unpainted concrete surfaces such as your garage floor and walkways with a solution of 4 to 6 tablespoons of washing soda in a gallon of hot water; mix scouring powder into the solution for tough jobs.
You can keep those unpainted concrete surfaces cleaner by applying concrete sealer, per the manufacturers’ directions and specifications.
Homeowners can look forward to many happy years in their new homes with some attention to routine maintenance.
Please send your questions or comments about new homes to email@example.com. We will try to answer as many questions as we can given space and time limitations and constraints. For more information about SNHBA, visit www.snhba.com. This column is published bimonthly.
Rocky Cochran, vice president of construction operations at Pardee Homes, is the 2013 president of the Southern Nevada Home Builders Association, which residential construction industry in Nevada. He is a third-generation homebuilder.