Sunday, December 21, 2014

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Becoming a Savvier Homeowner in the New Year! #WinterIsComing

How to prepare for winter as a homeowner #WinterIsComing  |
We are sharing our experiences as homeowners as part of a sponsored campaign on behalf of Payton & Co. and its client, American Home Shield.

Growing up I always assumed our family home was always functional and nothing ever stopped working. As an adult with my own home and family, I understand now that notion could not be further from the truth. Sometimes it seems like there is a new issue every day of varying severity.

I remember once walking down my stairs early one morning and hearing a water trickling sound coming from the kitchen. I thought maybe somebody left the water running in the sink….. If I only was so lucky. The water line to the refrigerator’s ice maker had snapped! The entire kitchen was flooded and the water was running into the basement. You can imagine we had a bad day. But the problem wasn't just the clean-up, it was also about the expense. Homeowners insurance is such a hassle I just dealt with the expense myself.

Another aspect of homeownership I did not fully appreciate while growing up was the routine maintenance required just to keep everything working properly . . . batteries for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, air filters, cleaning vents, and on and on and on!

We just recently had our broken clothes dryer replaced. It turns out, the dryer had burned out because the vent hoses were too clogged with years and years worth of lint. It had never occurred to me to take it down once in awhile and clean it out. The installation crew told me that not only did the clogged vents contribute to breaking the dryer, it was a major fire hazard!

At that point I realized that I needed to educate myself on maintaining my house’s systems better. I promised myself that I would not let a lack of knowledge create a dangerous situation for my family again. I also realized that I needed to find a way to ease the unexpected expense that comes with these problems and emergencies. I cannot afford to buy a new appliance each time something goes wrong.  With another unpredictable winter upon us here in New England, the cold sometimes makes such emergencies even worse.

There is seemingly an unlimited amount of resources online to help with increasing your homeowners knowledge. There are countless videos, blogs, forums, and podcasts that cover just about everything. There are also companies that offer protection plans for all of your appliances and home systems that fill in the gap between insurance and out of pocket expenses.

American Home Shield is a website that not only offers information to better maintain your home, they also offer protection plans that can help the financial strain of unexpected issues with your home's systems and appliances. I can't speak for everybody, but the idea of a small budgetable monthly fee is appealing to me over the cost of repairing or replacing an appliance or heating unit. I don't always have a spare $2,000 laying around!

This winter, my resolution is to be a much savvier homeowner, in both maintenance and cost. What are your goals as a homeowner for the new year?