with Kheli Mason, The Handy Woman LLC
Procrastination seems to be one of those human characteristics that some of us have perfected more than others. I would count myself among the more “advanced” practitioners of the “art” (as Lora and Joseph can attest, as they wait for me to submit my column each month!).
Certainly, some things matter more than others when it comes to putting them off, such as making the mortgage payment, calling Mom on her birthday (is it too much to ask?), or dare I say the “T-word” (filing your taxes). Whether the result is drastic, uncomfortable, or costly, one thing is usually true: procrastination can do more harm than good. And nowhere is that more true than in home maintenance and repair.
Let’s look at one simple and widespread example: the dripping faucet, one of the most common repair calls I get. The procrastinator will get to it eventually, but that can easily become a month and then six. Let’s think about the water wasted first. The USGS (U.S. Geological Survey,) actually has a Drip Calculator (how fabulous!) on their website (http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/sc4.html) and they have determined that a gallon of water contains 15,140 drips (4000 per liter). As an example, if your house had one dripping faucet, with a drip every three seconds, you would be losing 7 liters a day (694 gallons a year). Multiply that by the number of potentially dripping faucets there are in your house, in your neighbors’ houses, in the town of Lyons, and on and on. It gets scary. All from one drip every three seconds. No big deal? I beg to differ.
Now granted, water down the drain is a waste, yes, but it does go into the water treatment plant, or the septic drain field where it is eventually recycled back into the big water cycle picture. But, you pay for your water and wastewater treatment in town, and you pay for the electricity to run your pump in the rural areas. What if the leak was on the hot side of the faucet? Your water heater would need to keep up, so there is more power or gas.
What about the toll the leak may be taking on your faucet and sink, or tub/shower? Mineral deposits can damage, corrode, and stain sinks and metal drain parts. How many of us, when faced with a dripping faucet, have turned the handle off a little harder, just a little? It worked for a while, too, didn’t it? And then one day it stopped working and the handle would spin too far and now the drip was even worse. Uh oh, either the faucet handle stripped or worse, the faucet stem itself. Either way, the price tag for the repair just went up.
Another big culprit in the too little, too late waiting game is the caulking and grouting in and around tubs, showers and kitchen/bathroom sinks. Putting off maintenance in these areas can result in some pretty hefty problems down the road. I have been called to replace loose tiles in tub surrounds only to find that water has gotten behind the tiles and caused major damage, not only to the wall board behind the tiles, but the framing members (studs) of the wall itself. Again, the price of the repair went from a few bucks for a tube of caulk to tearing out the wall, dealing with the mold that is probably growing in that warm, moist environment and rebuilding/retiling.
Take a look around your house and note the things that may need some attention. Those missing shingles on the roof, that toilet that rocks from side to side a little, those loose or rotted deck boards, and that cracked window pane. I know they seem like such a hassle to think about, and when will you have the time, but often these things that you catch when they are little, take less time than you may think and could save you a whole lot of heartache and money down the road.
Nipping things like this in the bud, instead of waiting for a rainy day, may just help keep the rain where it belongs, outside, not inside your house (“Rain” is used here as an illustrative concept, since we really don’t know what that is around here lately).
With over 20 years experience in Home Maintenance and Repair, Remodeling and Building Inspection, Kheli started the Handy Woman, LLC to be ‘not just your average contracting company’, but to also teach people how to take care of their homes by offering do-it-yourself coaching and how-to classes. Along with typical home repair and maintenance services, her focus is to help our elders age-in-place and teach women homeowners how to understand and care for their homes. For more information, please call Kheli @ (303) 999-5812, www.thehandywomanllc.com.