Your home is our biggest investment. It is also where we spend most of our time. We take pride in its appearance and its condition. When things break, it can be expensive to repair them, and that’s aside from the massive inconvenience. Fortunately, there are things you can do to reduce the odds of needing to repair your home and minimise the steep price tag when they do occur. Here are a few tips on how to avoid expensive home repairs.
Maintain Your Water Heater
A faulty water heater may mean you’re left taking cold showers, but there are worse things that can happen. If the water heater develops a leak, your floors could be flooded. Warning signs that something is wrong include unusual noises from the hot water heater, loud noises like pops, and little leaks that are sure to get worse.
At a minimum, you should check the pressure valve of the hot water heater and flush the tank once a year to remove sediment. The next step is ensuring that there is a drain pan under the hot water heater connected to drain pipes, so that any leaking water is carried safely away instead of ruining carpets or wood supports in your floor and walls.
Minimise the Water Damage
Water damage can come from a number of sources. We’ve already mentioned the threat of a leaking hot water heater. You could have leaks in the pipes in the walls. A hole in the roof could cause water to leak inside the home, as well. Caulk is a basic home repair, but it can prevent water from seeping through cracks around windows.
In all of these cases, you need to be on the lookout for signs of possible water leaks such as peeling paint, discoloured walls and ceilings, and musty smells. When you see these warning signs, call a plumber immediately.
Consider adding caulk to the gaps between floorboards so that water spills can’t lead to warped wood or mould growing in your floor. However, in damp areas like bathrooms, the caulk will need to be replaced every year or two. When the caulk itself is peeling or growing mould, get to work.
Maintain Your Home’s Plumbing
Plumbing problems can be incredibly expensive to repair, whether it is a frozen pipe that bursts or water leak destroying load-bearing walls in your home. This is why it is essential to maintain your home’s plumbing in addition to checking for leaks.
Avoid using chemical products to unclog drains and rely on experts and the right tools to do the job instead. Hire a pro to clear your sewer pipes at least once a year, too, to minimise the chance of wastewater backing up into your home. Test your sump pump once a year to keep water out of the basement or lower level of your home. If it isn’t working, call for service. Insulate your pipes during the winter to minimise the chance that they break.
Get Home Emergency Cover
A boiler going out is one of the biggest home emergencies since it can leave you without heat or hot water. With a good boiler cover policy, you’ll be able to bring in a professional engineer for boiler repairs. A good boiler cover will help you avoid expensive home repairs, too, by bringing in someone to inspect the system and perform regular boiler maintenance.
Boiler cover providers like Certi will go even further and will give you access to a 24-hour helpline as part of their plans so you can talk to experts when you aren’t sure if you need to call for service. Their highest tier plans take it to the next level and cover maintenance and repairs for your central heating system, electrics, plumbing, and drains. Total home protection like this will save you from massive repair bills when things break, while their preventative steps like boiler maintenance will stave off most breakdowns in the first place.
Check Your Foundation
The most expensive home repairs are caused by the foundation. The first signs include doors and windows that don’t close properly. Other warning signs include pooling water in a corner. It can escalate to slanted doors, sloping floors, and cracks in the walls. This damage is caused by shifting in the soil, and it will get worse over time.
In order to minimise the damage and associated price tag, check your foundation regularly. Look for cracks and fissures in the foundation that give water a way into the foundation and your home. (These fine cracks give insects a way into your home, too.) Consider checking the crawl space and looking for any cracks, just as you check the basement walls for cracks.
Make sure you have proper drainage inside the home and outside of the home. For example, ensure that the soil around the home drains water away instead of letting it pool around the foundation, speeding up the damage. As an added level of protection, clean your gutters and make sure they aren’t blocked, so that they drain water from the roof well away from the foundation.
Maintain Your Roof
Your roof will need to be replaced every so often, but you don’t want to add the cost of water damage repair to the bill. A good preventative measure is having the roof inspected twice a year and replacing any missing or broken tiles when this is discovered. This prevents water from seeping into the underlying structure, rotting the beams or fuelling mould growth in the insulation.
Check for water leaks around chimneys and skylights. When you’re in the attic, keep an eye out for signs of water damage that indicate roof damage. This includes but is not limited to bubbling paint, mould, ceiling stains, and wet interior surfaces.
Watch for Insects
Termites are the biggest concern here. They will eat away at the very structure of your home, so the sooner they’re dealt with, the better. When you find them early enough, a spot treatment may be enough. In advanced cases, whole house fumigation is necessary. The best weapon we have is vigilance. Watch for mud trails and piles of wood pellets. These will be most likely to pop up around the edges and corners of your walls.
Don’t Forget your HVAC System
Poor maintenance of your HVAC system, if you have one, could lead to many issues as well. If you don’t take care of your HVAC system properly, you could have issues like clogged drain lines, dirty coils or air filters, blown fuses, or important electric problems.
If you don’t look out for your HVAC system, you could end up freezing in the middle of winter or left in the smouldering summer heat until a service person comes over and leaves you with a nice hefty bill. That’s why you should replace air filters at least once every 90 days tops and have an annual inspection done by a professional. This will allow you to identify smaller issues and make repairs fast before they turn into something serious.
They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Invest a little time, money and forethought now and you could avoid unnecessary and expensive repair bills down the line.