How to Avoid These Four Household Disasters
Often, the upgrades you should be making are more mundane than changing the colour of your kitchen cabinets. But, if you do regular maintenance on your home, you can avoid serious problems that can cost you lots of money.
We looked at the top 4 most common (and expensive) home disasters to show how regular maintenance can prevent major expenses down the line.
Disaster #1: You Need a New Roof
Most people only find out they need a new roof when they start seeing leaks sprout up during the rainy season. These leaks can get even worse when snow builds up on roofs and melts into your home. Some roofs get so bad that a simple patchwork repair isn't enough: you need a whole new roof.
How to Avoid It
Every fall and spring, clean out your eavestroughs and downspouts. Remove all accumulated leaves, debris, and any garbage you find.
When you clean your eavestroughs, do a visual check of your roof. Check for missing, buckled, or curling shingles. Replace any shingles that look like they won't keep water out. Watch out for popped nails in shingles and in the metal flashing (the metal that secures your eavestrough and trim to your roof).
If you fix these small problems, they won't quickly turn into big problems. Call a professional roofer if you see any problems you don't feel comfortable fixing yourself.
Disaster #2: You Have Major Water Damage
Water damage is caused by a variety of sources; really anywhere you have water pipes. You could get a burst water main, overflowing septic tank, or a long-undetected leaky pipe. Water damage can cause thousands of dollars of damage if it isn't caught and repaired quickly.
How to Avoid It
Flush your drains at least once a season to maintain clear drains. Use a natural cleaning solution of a half-cup backing soda with a half-cup vinegar. Wait 10 minutes, and then flush with boiling water poured straight down the drain.
Make sure your pipes are properly insulated from the cold so they don't burst during the winter months. If you're going to be out of town during the winter, don't turn off your heater, as that can expose your pipes to too much cold.
Examine major water sources for leaks every few months. Check the base of your toilets, the counter space under sinks, and the base of showers and tubs for leaks or visible water damage. You should move your fridge, washing machine, and dishwasher away from the wall to check for water damage that you wouldn't otherwise see.
If you have a crawl space, take a trip inside with a flashlight to look for water damage. If you find water damage when it's still in its early stages, you can call a professional to find the source of the leak and avoid an expensive disaster.
Disaster #3: Your Furnace Releases Carbon Monoxide
Of course, if your furnace stops working in the dead of winter, that can be a nuisance. But if your furnace releases this toxic gas, you and your family could have severe health problems.
How to Avoid It
At least twice a year, open your furnace up to take care of accumulated dust, grime, and dirt. Check and change the filter, vacuum out the inside, check the fan belt, and check the oil ports. Once you're done, close it up, turn the power and gas back on, and relight the pilot light. If you have any trouble or see anything out of order, be sure to call a professional.
Gas furnaces make carbon monoxide, which can leak out into your home if the furnace isn't regularly maintained. Install a carbon monoxide filter low to the ground near the furnace. Carbon monoxide is a heavy gas that sinks to the ground. Check the batteries every six months to make sure they're working properly.
Disaster #4: Mold Invasion
Mold can contribute to allergies, congestion, and eye irritation. Some types of mold can lead to more severe respiratory problems. Removing large amounts of mold can be costly, especially if the mold penetrates your home's infrastructure.
How to Avoid It
The key to preventing mold intrusion is to keep moisture at bay. When mold spores land on a damp patch in your home, they start to grow and spread. Watch out for leaky pipes, poor ventilation, and faulty exhaust fans.
Use exhaust fans to air out your bathroom after a hot shower to keep the humid air from sprouting mold. Regularly clean bathroom surfaces with a mold-killing cleaner like bleach. Leave your washing machine door open between loads of laundry to prevent mold and mildew from accumulating.
Don't let home disasters wreck your home's value. Invest in your home with quick maintenance procedures every few months. If you see any problems, call a professional while the problem is still minor and avoid costly repairs later on down the line.