Many homeowners feel that they will never win the home maintenance game – it can seem like there is always something needing to be repaired or replaced. Especially in today’s uncertain economic climate putting off fixing the roof or buying new gutters might be a sound, short-term budget strategy. However, to avoid total disaster (and expensive fixes) there are some house problems that shouldn’t be ignored.
It’s never a good thing when lights flicker, change brightness or the circuit breaker is tripped when appliances are turned on or plugged in. Other signs that your home is experiencing electrical issues are frayed cords, non-functional outlets, and light fixtures emitting buzzing sounds. Especially if you live in an older home, a licensed electrician should be consulted as soon as possible – it could be anything from a fuse box upgrade to having to rewire your home.
Moisture on Walls
When patches of moisture appear on the interior walls or exterior walls of your house, it’s often a symptom of a number of problems. These could include:
- leaking pipes
- gaps in siding that allow moisture in behind siding panels
- damaged siding panels
- overflowing gutters
If the source of moisture build-up is not identified and dealt with, moisture on walls can make them vulnerable to deterioration and/or mold and mildew growth.
When Mold Appears
Both mold and mildew are types of fungi that reproduce from spores in a damp environment such as gutters that haven’t been cleaned or on water-damaged siding. While mildew growth is merely unsightly, mold can pose a serious health risk to people inside the home. When mold appears, it should be thoroughly removed and cleaned from all affected surfaces (interior walls, ceilings, siding, gutters).
Higher than Usual Energy Bills
If your energy consumption is higher in the winter than it is in the summer or if it keeps climbing up throughout the year, this could be an indication of problems with the furnace, air conditioning or the windows of your home. Have the furnace and air conditioning inspected. Change the filter and keep appliances in good repair.
When your home’s heating and cooling systems aren’t the culprits of higher than usual energy bills, it could be your windows and/or entry doors. If window panes are loose in their frames or there are gaps between the trim and the door when closed, warm air is allowed to escape while cold air can infiltrate a home’s interior.
Clogged, leaking or missing gutter sections should be addressed as soon as the problem has been discovered. As part of the roofing system, properly working gutters ensure that runoff rainwater can do no harm to your home’s siding, foundation, and landscaping. Remove clogs that cause gutters to overflow by cleaning them regularly. Replace broken or missing gutter sections. Plan on buying a new gutter system if sections are too corroded (beyond repair), or there are too many issues to deal with (broken hardware and missing sections and holes).
Soil washed away from around the foundation due to overflowing gutters or poor landscaping drainage can become vulnerable to shifting. Hairline cracks are the first sign of trouble. Cracks in a foundation O.5 cm (3/16”) or wider can be a warning that structural issues are a real concern.
It can be difficult to identify roof damage because the source is often hidden from sight and can take months even years to surface. A compromised roof can lead to structural damage, pest infestations, mold on ceilings and interior walls, and rising energy bills. That’s why it’s important to have the roof inspected annually for missing roofing shingles, worn flashings, “soft” spots, and sagging. Any type of roof damage should be repaired immediately.