In keeping with the spirit of resolving to proactively protect ourselves and our investments, I have put together a list of repairs that you should not put off until ‘later.’ Procrastination is certainly tempting with the cold weather (finally) settling in, but in order to protect your investment, the following home maintenance issues should be addressed now before they become more serious.
Leaky water heater
It is easy enough to assume that if the hot water flows, all is well with your water heater. Inspect the unit regularly for water (even just drops) beneath the tank and/or corrosion around the bottom – these can be signs of much more serious problems. Water leaks from the safety valve can be a sign of water pressure build up inside the tank, which could lead to an explosion; leaks from the bottom of the tank usually indicate that the tank itself is compromised. Make sure to have it inspected regularly by a professional, and call a plumber immediately if anything seems amiss.
Save a costly foundation repair job by cleaning out the gutters. Some experts recommend an annual clean, but with the increased precipitation in the spring and the winter, twice a year is wise. When gutters are clogged, the water runs down the side of your house, directly toward your foundation which can cause it to crack. In the winter, clogged gutters can create ice dams that damage both the gutters themselves and the roof.
An occasional small leak can be easy to overlook, but the damage can be extensive if not corrected quickly. That little drip can allow mold and mildew to accumulate, potentially compromising carpeting and entire sections of drywall. A damp patch on the ceiling caused by broken or missing shingles or a crack in sealing could be the first visible sign of waterlogged and rotting rafters in the attic. Spare a much larger expense down the road and call a roofer.
I have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. Ignoring the signs of potential problems with your electrical system can cost you your life and your home. Electrical issues account for over 47,000 house fires each year. Knob and tube wiring system, which was popular until the 1940s, features insulation that is prone to cracking, leaving you with bare wires and the risk of a short circuit. Another common problem in older homes is an electrical system that is not build to handle the demands of modern appliances and gadgets. If the lights in your home flicker every time you turn on an appliance, you might be at risk. The cost of updating wiring in an old home can be expensive, but it is well worth the preventative cost. Hire a licensed electrician for this job.
Natural gas leaks
If a rotten egg smell permeates your home, call 911.
It could be something as small as a pilot light that’s out or a gas burner on the stove that’s not completely off, or something as big as a broken gas main leading to your house or running through your backyard. Worst case scenario – an explosion and fire.
Don’t hesitate on this one. If a quick check of the stove doesn’t reveal the source of the gas, get out of the house. You can open windows on your way but don’t turn on anything electrical. 911 will dispatch gas company technicians to find the source of the leak.
Please add to the list of home repairs you feel cannot be put off.