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Top Tips To Properly Maintain Your Old Home

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David Hucks
David Hucks is a 12th generation descendant of the area we now call Myrtle Beach, S.C. David attended Coastal Carolina University and like most of his family, has never left the area. David is the lead journalist at

There is no denying the fact that old homes have an ancient charm that attracts several homebuyers. These homes typically have great architectural details and many natural building materials. According to BuyersAsk, the median age of houses in the US is about 37 years old, depending on which area you live in. Although these properties are showstoppers, they aren’t the easiest to maintain. Still, it is possible to stay on top of home maintenance to keep your old property in great shape. Here are some things you should know to maintain your old house properly.

  1. Prioritize energy efficiency

Old houses are famed for their unique character and exquisite construction, but they are also known for their outrageous energy bills. Older homes usually aren’t as energy-efficient as their newer counterparts that flex the latest advancements in building technology. Consequently, finding ways to improve the energy efficiency in your old home is an essential aspect of owning it. Thankfully, there is no shortage of trusted ways to accomplish this. For example, you can search for “plumbers near me” online to find the best professionals to replace your home’s water heaters.

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Additionally, consider changing your light bulbs to LED, installing programmable thermostats, and enhancing air conditioning with ceiling fans. Finally, add more insulation to make your home well-insulated. Insulation in the 1920s was nothing to write home about, so many houses from that era were extremely cold in the winter and hot during summer. These houses use significant energy to keep them at the desired temperature, leading to sky-high energy costs. Therefore, add more insulation to the underside of your roof between rafters, attic flooring, walls, and other strategic areas to reduce your home’s utility bills.

  1. Make the right updates

Many old homes are running on building systems that are outdated, broken, or near the end of their lifespan. Consequently, it is crucial to make the proper updates to your old home to ensure that it is properly maintained. For starters, call a trusted electrician to examine your wiring to determine whether changes are necessary. Electrical systems from the past usually need a lot of work, particularly those with the old knob and tube wiring style. Knob and tube wiring sufficed for the electrical loads of the time. However, it is woefully inadequate for what modern appliances require, so using these wires in modern times is a fire hazard risk.

Given that the US Fire Administration’s 2014-2016 Electrical Fires Report identifies electrical wiring as one of the first things that ignite in residential building electrical fires, it would be best to get rid of such wiring to remain safe. Additionally, consider upgrading your home’s foundation if it is cracked and weak. Fortunately, even severe cases of foundation damage can be repaired. As such, you can reach out to a foundation repair specialist who will assess the severity of your cracked foundation by the size and length of the crack, along with the property’s age. Then, your house will be supported in place or raised, and the old foundation will be demolished and replaced with a new one. Outdated renovations, roofing, and plumbing systems are other common areas to consider upgrading in an old home, so keep this in mind.

  1. Keep an eye out for popular old home hazards

Hazards are present in almost every home, but old houses typically have particular dangers you should watch out for as a homeowner. For starters, building materials used in older homes can pose a significant health risk to you and your family. According to experts, asbestos, lead-based paint, mold and mildew, lead in drinking water, underground storage tanks, radon, and carbon monoxide are the seven common environmental hazards potentially found in older houses. Asbestos is present in many old home building materials like ceiling and floor tiles, pipe and duct insulation on heating systems, and attic insulation. Although its mere presence in your old home is not hazardous, it can become dangerous when the asbestos fibers become friable and inhalable. Therefore, if you suspect that a building material in your old home has asbestos, do not disturb it by sawing, moving, hammering, drilling, moving, or cutting it. Also, consider hiring a professional to replace these materials if possible.

Similarly, your old home likely contains lead-based paint, which can cause severe health issues in your family members. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that encapsulated lead paint is not an imminent threat. Therefore, ensure that you paint over your home’s lead paint to keep it from peeling, chipping, and cracking, preventing it from becoming a health risk.

  1. Keep as much of your old home’s original character as possible

Modernizing your old home to look like today’s houses is undoubtedly worth considering as a homeowner. However, many experts believe that it is critical to preserve the original character of your old house where you can, ensuring that your home can keep its ancient charm. For instance, old homes are typically small and cozy. Therefore, you can keep the home’s original identity by refusing to open up its rooms to convert small spaces into large spaces. Also, you can keep the molding, flooring, and doors of the past since these elements are unique and add character to your property. 

However, you can add modernity into your home while preserving original details, so keep this in mind. For instance, you can create a modern kitchen and choose contemporary light fixtures that reflect your taste. Likewise, consider various ways to maximize the space you have, including refinishing the basement, turning the front porch into a family room, and adding loft storage. Finally, select modern furniture pieces for your historic home to add a touch of modernity. The simplicity of present-day furniture complements the exquisite workmanship of an older home. Therefore, consider purchasing timeless furniture pieces since they can work in any setting, including an older-style house. This way, you can make smart additions that accommodate your family’s needs without sacrificing your house’s original character.

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