Homeownership is a huge accomplishment – but it’s also a huge responsibility. After all, you’re putting down roots, creating a sanctuary for yourself and your family away from the world and investing in your future.
You also need to protect that investment. That means making sure that you keep up with your home’s regular maintenance and repairs. While a worn carpet or a crack in the blacktop of your driveway aren’t cause for any kind of immediate action, there are some repairs (no matter how inconvenient) that you simply cannot put off for another day. These include:
1. Roof Leaks
Your roof is your home’s first line of defense against all the forces of nature. It really does protect your home from the top down, so any signs of a leaking roof should set off the proverbial alarm bells in your mind.
Whether it’s a minor drip or a major leak, water infiltration from a bad roof can wreak havoc on your home’s structural integrity, compromise your insulation and even jeopardize your home’s electrical systems. Over time, untreated roof leaks can also lead to mold growth, and that can threaten your family’s health.
If you see stains on the walls or ceiling or other signs of leaks, don’t hesitate to call a roofer for help. The cost of a new roof is nothing compared to the expense of all the damage that a leak can cause to the rest of your home.
2. Damaged or Missing Shingles
Even if your roof is in fairly good condition, winter weather can do some damage. High winds, storms, snow and ice can all contribute to shingle damage or loss. Shingles protect your roof from the elements, and any breach in this defense can lead to water penetration, structural damage and mold growth.
Damaged or missing shingles might seem like they’re just a cosmetic issue, but they can actually compromise your entire roofing system. Inspecting your roof regularly for signs of shingle trouble and addressing these issues promptly can prevent more extensive and costly damage down the line.
3. Plumbing Problems
Plumbing predicaments can range from the annoying drip of a faucet to a full-blown broken pipe – but none of them can be ignored for any length of time.
A burst pipe and pouring water obviously have to be handled right away. Minor leaks might seem inconsequential in comparison, but they can lead to water damage inside your walls, mold, and (of course) inflated utility bills. Procrastination over your plumbing issues is a gamble that you’re ultimately going to lose.
4. Gas Leaks
Gas leaks are among the most critical home emergencies, and immediate attention is non-negotiable.
Gas leaks pose severe risks, including the potential for explosions and adverse health effects. Prolonged exposure to natural gas can lead to symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, fatigue and respiratory issues. If you ever catch a whiff of a rotten egg smell, don’t ignore it – and don’t try to investigate it on your own. Call in the professionals right away.
5. Clogged Gutters
Clogged gutters are a constantly revolving issue for most homeowners, but your gutters play a crucial role in moving rainwater off your roof and keeping it away from your foundation. That keeps water from seeping into your basement and causing other structural issues or ice dams from forming on the roof, working their way under the shingles until your attic is wet and your walls are damaged.
The only cure for a gutter that’s clogged with leaves, debris and dirt is regular cleaning. Make it part of your routine every spring and fall (more often if you have a lot of trees nearby).
6. Electrical Anomalies
Flickering lights, switches that have to be jiggled so they work and frequent circuit breaker trips are not just inconveniences that come along with an older home – they’re indicators of electrical problems that cannot be ignored.
Unattended electrical issues can lead to devastating house fires. If any abnormalities in your home’s electrical system are noted, the services of a licensed electrician should be promptly enlisted to diagnose and fix the problem before it escalates.
7. Foundation Issues
Cracks in your home’s foundation may start inconspicuously but can swiftly escalate into significant structural issues. Ignoring foundation cracks can result in uneven floors, doors and windows that won’t close properly, and in extreme cases, structural failure.
It can be gut-wrenching to realize that you have a foundation problem, but catching it in the early stages will prevent further damage and uphold the stability of your home.
8. HVAC Hiccups
A malfunctioning HVAC system compromises your comfort and can lead to increased energy bills. In extreme cases, you can end up with a complete system failure.
Regular maintenance and immediate repairs are indispensable to keep your HVAC system functioning optimally and extend its lifespan. If you experience a sudden spike in your energy bills without a corresponding increase in use, you can’t seem to keep your home evenly heated or cooled, the thermostat isn’t responding or the system keeps rapidly cycling on and off, it’s time to get some repairs.
9. Pest Infestations
Pest infestations, whether termites, rodents or insects, can be a homeowner’s nightmare. These creepy, crawly uninvited guests can cause structural damage, contaminate your food and pose serious health risks to your family.
Droppings, gnaw marks and peculiar odors require immediate action. If you delay, you can end up with damage to your home’s walls, floors and more – all of which will make the cost associated with eradication and repairs a lot bigger.
Regular home maintenance and proactive repairs are key to preserving the value of your investment and protecting the well-being of your family. When you address unavoidable home maintenance issues right away, you can save your home from bigger problems down the road – and protect your wallet from far bigger expenses.