You’ve probably spent more time in your home this year than usual, which means more wear and tear on your house and everything in it. It might start out as a small water stain on the ceiling, a patch of missing insulation in the attic, or a small crack in the foundation. But these small signs can mean potentially big trouble in a home, and ignoring them could end up costing thousands of dollars in repairs. No one likes spending money on home repairs, but taking care of small problems before they become big ones will actually end up saving you money. Here are five signs that indicate home repairs are needed:
Cracks in the Foundation
Inspect your home’s foundation seasonally to look for cracks. Small, hairline cracks aren’t an issue; they’re usually caused by the concrete curing or settling and can be easily fixed with epoxy sealant. But any cracks wider than 3/16 of an inch can signal problems. An easy way to tell is if a standard pencil fits into the crack, it’s too big to ignore. While you’re looking for cracks, also take note of any bulging or buckling. If you notice any of these signs, have them professionally inspected and repaired right away.
Many of the things that can go wrong in a home start with water going where it isn’t supposed to. Leaky roofs, drippy pipes, and faulty plumbing can all lead to costly, destructive damage to drywall, insulation, and flooring, not to mention contribute to the growth of toxic mold and mildew. If you see, hear, or even suspect any signs of water leakage, have the area inspected immediately. Telltale signs of water damage include water stains on the ceiling or walls, warped or buckling floors, and damp insulation.
Mold and Mildew
Many people mistakenly believe these are simply signs of poor housekeeping and that they can’t happen in a clean home. But that’s not the case. Any time water invades your home in unexpected places, these toxic substances can grow. Signs to be aware of are musty, stale-smelling air, bubbled areas in paint or wallpaper, or chronic sinus symptoms with no other cause. While there are DIY kits available for mold detection, they aren’t always accurate. If you think your home may have mold, it’s best to call a professional to treat not only the mold growth, but to fix the underlying issue that’s causing water to get where it doesn’t belong.
Signs of Pests & Rodents
Insects and rodents can cause tremendous damage to homes, not to mention it’s just creepy to think of those unwanted guests sharing your space. Termites are among the most destructive invaders; look for “termite tunnels” running from your home’s foundation, or hanging from the ceiling. You may also find small piles of their shed wings throughout the house. Rodents can be detected by the waste they leave behind, as well as through destruction of insulation, drywall, or baseboards. If you suspect any pests have invaded your home, call a professional exterminator right away.
Signs of Electrical Overload
Fires resulting from faulty electrical systems destroy approximately 45,000 homes every year. Though more of an issue in homes built before 1970, no home is completely immune from the possibility. Signs to watch for are flickering lights, frequently blown fuses or breakers, and outlets or switch plates that feel warm to the touch. If you notice any of these signs, call an electrician right away; these are not the kinds of repairs you should attempt to do yourself.
Having a fully funded emergency savings account in place will make these home repairs less painful. If you don’t think there’s room in your budget to save for emergencies, our online financial review can help you find ways to cut costs and start setting money aside.