7 Home Repairs You Can’t Ignore

BY NANCY MATTIA ON JANUARY 19TH, 2017

When you own a home, it seems like there are endless repairs to make. Most of us don’t have an endless supply of money, however, so it becomes a matter of prioritizing. Here’s a look at some problems that really can’t wait.

1. A leaky roof

Leaks can cause substantial structural damage and, if left unchecked, mold. “The majority of roof leaks are caused by missing shingles or broken slate tiles, improperly sealed valleys, a cracked chimney or vents, or clogged gutters,” says Eugene Madden, a roofer in Far Hills, N.J. “Have the roof checked twice a year, in the spring and fall. If you’re not doing preventative maintenance, what could have been a simple quick fix may turn into a major repair job.”

2. Clogged gutters and downspouts

These drainage chutes are supposed to drive rainwater away from your home, but that won’t happen if they’re filled with leaves and other debris. All that extra water could compromise your home’s foundation and water could start seeping indoors. Clean gutters and downspouts during your biannual roof checkups, says Madden, and make sure they’re properly attached.

3. Dripping faucets and toilets.

It’s shocking how much water is wasted because of leaks. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, leaks from household faucets, toilets and showerheads waste more than 10,000 gallons of water every year. So get your leaks fixed and you’ll save more than water: Fixing easily correctable leaks could save you about 10 percent off your water bill.

4. Foundation cracks

If you see a crack in your house’s foundation, monitor its progress over the coming months. If it expands, close it up with the proper sealant that works with your particular foundation’s material. As with other home repairs, it’s better to fix a small crack before it becomes big and serious. But if the crack is already large, bulging or buckling, call a professional.

5. A blocked chimney

When a bird nest in the flue blocks a chimney or the clay lining disintegrates, it poses a hazard not just to your home but also to your health – smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning are two likely risks. “A blocked chimney prevents dangerous gases from exiting the house,” Madden says. “And if you lit a fire in the fireplace, the smoke wouldn’t be able to exit and would come back into the house.” Hire a professional to clean the chimney and check that the cap is still in good working order.

6. Pests

Any kind of pest infestation is bad news, including termites, carpenter bees and ants, roaches and mice. It means there are openings in your home that need to be closed. Common entry points are garage doors, ducts, electrical access panels, and exhaust vents. If you find a nest, droppings, or signs of chewing, call an exterminator and fix those holes.

7. Faulty electrical wiring

“Flickering lights or lights that dim for no reason are potential fire hazards,” says David Roth, a qualified licensed International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers contractor in St. Louis. So is an outdated outlet with only two openings instead of three or an outlet that’s warm to the touch or charred. “If you plug in a hairdryer and the plug doesn’t stay in, that’s because the outlet is loose and the device is going to get too hot and could cause a problem,” Roth says. Also be wary of circuit breakers and GFCI receptacles that repeatedly trip. Call a qualified electrician to update your system before a fire breaks out.

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