It’s amazing how many problems can be avoided merely by taking a purposeful stroll around your home. When walking around the outside, you may be able to spot foundation damage or a leaky roof. A quick inspection of the indoors can reveal signs of water damage or termite infestation. So be proactive about keeping up with your home. It doesn’t have to be a strenuous task and the sooner the problem is discovered the cheaper it will be to repair.
Here are strategies for avoiding six of the most costly home repairs.
1. Sewer Pipes
Problem: A filthy mess is what you will be dealing with if you don’t regulary inspect your sewer pipes. Branches, leaves and sticks can become lodged in the pipes causing the sewage to get backed up.
Problem: Yes, your home is going to move and settle, especially in areas where the ground freezes and thaws annually. This may lead to cracks or fissures in your foundation. These thin spaces give plenty of room for water to trickle in and wreak havoc. They also open the door to insect infestation.
Solution: Take notice of any cracks in crawl spaces or your basement. Slanting floors or doors and windows that no longer shut properly are also signs of a shifting foundation. Once you notice these signs, contact a professional as quickly as possible to avoid escalating the problem (which will cost even more!).
Problem: Replacing a roof is expensive enough without adding to it the cost of water damage repair. If shingles are broken or missing from your roof, water can seep into the insulation allowing for mold to grow or for the rotting of boards and beams.
Solution: Inspect your roof at least twice annually. Be aware of any shingles that may be loose or missing and check to make sure there is no water leaking through around chimneys or skylights. After this, head into the attic to inspect for any signs of water damage that you may have been unable to see from the roof. Look out for bubbling paint, ceiling stains and mold.
Problem: Termites damage more than 600,000 homes in the United States annually. It costs an estimated $5 billion dollars to control and repair their destruction. These menacing pests can eat away at the very structure of your home, so the sooner you find them the better.
Solution: Early damage can be remedied with spot treatments, but extensive infestation will necessitate whole-house fumigation—obviously a much more costly solution. Make sure to keep your eyes open for what looks like piles of wood pellets. The termites may also leave behind mud trails. Inspect the corners and edges of your walls for these signs.
Problem: Though caulking may seem like a basic and unimpressive home repair, it can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage if not maintained. The caulking is there to prevent water from seeping into cracks and crannies. If the water gets through, you could be dealing with replacing floor boards, removing mold and potentially some rebuilding.
Solution: In damp areas such as bathrooms and sinks, caulking should be replaced every one to two years. If you see caulking peeling or molding, take the time to purchase the inexpensive supplies to restore it.
6. HVAC (Heating, Ventilation And Air Conditioning)
Problem: Dirty air filters or coils, clogged drain lines, blown fuses and electrical problems can all result from not taking proper care of your HVAC system. What’s the worst that can happen? You will be left freezing in the winter or sweating in the summer until your contractor can find the time to come out and repair your unit—and leave you with a huge bill.
Solution: Change out your air filter every 30 to 90 days. This will reduce the buildup of pressure on your system. Also, you should have a professional inspection done annually to avoid costly replacements when you could be doing more affordable repairs. Here is a full maintenance checklist for peak performance of your HVAC system.
Photo by Julien_Dumont