The Costs of Being a Homeowner
May 12, 2007
The costs of owning your home seem to come in groups for some reason. A leaky roof, no central air, and impending flooding hit us all at once this week.
No Air Conditioning
On Sunday night my wife announced it was too hot for comfort and that she was turning on the air conditioner for the first time this spring. We flipped the switch to cool, turned down the thermostat, and air poured out of the vents. Unfortunately it wasn’t cold air. The blower for the furnace was on but our air conditioning unit was not running.
As the repair man headed our way the next afternoon we tried to troubleshoot the problem over the phone. It turns out our only problem was that the circuit breaker had been tripped so there was no power to the unit. Luckily, the repair guy hadn’t reached our house yet when I made the discovery so we avoided the $85 visit. We’ve never had any maintenance done on the air conditioner since we built the house so I did schedule maintenance for next week.
We live in a low lying area but because it’s been deemed a 100 year flood plain, our insurance company doesn’t require us to buy flood insurance. Every spring when we have a lot of rain, I call our insurance company to sign up for flood insurance but for various reasons I never have. Sometimes their flood division is closed when I call, one time the paperwork was never mailed out to us. Regardless of the excuses, I’ve never done it. Then summer rolls around and I decide to save a few bucks and wait till the next January or February to sign up.
When our area received a lot of rain in a short period of time this week, I began to worry. A river in our valley left its banks and it kept on raining. Luckily for us and many others the rain eventually stopped and hopefully the flood threat has passed for this season.
Watching the river creep closer and closer to our neighborhood is a very stressful experience, especially when you don’t have flood insurance. It’s foolish of me to have put off buying insurance as long as I have so when the flood insurance office opens Monday I’ll be their first caller.
As if the air conditioner not running and the river leaving its banks wasn’t enough, some wonderful water stains in our ceiling let us know our roof was leaking as well. Obviously once the rain stopped the leaking ended but now we have some work to do on our ceiling. The roof guy came out today and found the source of the leak. It turns out water was coming through in more than one place but we’d only seen signs of one leak. For $150 he’s coming by next week to patch the leaks and do a little maintenance on potential trouble spots.
Could Have Been Worse
Every cloud has a silver lining, right? Ours was the trusty sump pump! It ran and ran for several days, keeping our basement high and dry. A friend at work was not as fortunate. His sump pump went out and the basement flooded with four feet of water. It’s an unfinished rock basement so there’s no cosmetic damage but he’s looking at a bill for a new furnace and hot water heater, ouch!
There were others in our area that did have their homes flood so we feel lucky to gotten off with minor damage. As the week winds down it turns out the costs of being a homeowner this month are much lower than I thought a few days ago. A $75 tune-up for the air conditioner, a $150 roof patch job, and monthly flood insurance payments aren’t too bad in retrospect.
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