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Protect Your Investment

From the Los Angeles Times by Scott Gibson (edited)

Buying a home is just the beginning. Before long you’ll be repairing it, too.

Many building components – foundation, framing, plumbing, and wiring – should last 50 years or more. But mechanical systems, appliances, and surfaces exposed to the weather will not last nearly that long, even under the best of circumstances.

Predicted lifespans are published for everything from microwaves to garage door openers. Although these estimates are helpful, they are not intended to be exact. Maintenance history is one important variable, but so is chance.

  • Building structure – Calculating the life expectancy of a roof, siding, exterior paint, flashing and the like is far from an exact science. Geography plays so important a role. For example, a wood-shingle roof that wears like iron in a moderate climate might succumb much more quickly when exposed to constant dampness, harsh sunlight, or other environment extremes. Another key factor is the quality of the material.
  • Major mechanical systems – Routine maintenance – such as cleaning furnace or air conditioner filters and scheduling periodic service – might be the only practical way a homeowner can extend the life of major mechanical systems. Water quality plays a role in the longevity of water heaters and water pumps. Water that is highly acidic or full of minerals is tougher on equipment than treated water.
  • Appliances – Most of us have run across an ancient refrigerator or range still working flawlessly long after it should have been hauled to the dump. With an estimated 600 million appliances in American households, many in historic homes, there are plenty of such exceptions. In fact, the Association of Home Appliances Manufacturers says most appliances are not junked at all. A majority are sold, traded in, left behind in a move or given away, and they serve second or even third owners.

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