Listen to Your Home When it Signals Something is Wrong
Posted July 06, 2014

Just like a car that starts showing signs that something under the hood isn’t quite right, there are warning signals that your home can give, telling you that something is wrong or going wrong. Following are some of the warning signs, what they may mean and what you can do to prevent further damage as well as large maintenance bills.

If your water bill suddenly increases for no obvious reason – You may have an underground water leak. To check this, shut the water off to the house and check the water meter reading over an hour. If the flow continues, you have a water leak. If you have a home that is unoccupied for a while, you may develop a singular toilet leak. If not fixed, you may end up with a large water bill. You may want to turn off the water while the home is unoccupied.

If you have to repeatedly relight the pilot light on an appliance – The safety device that shuts off the gas to an appliance when it senses that the pilot light is no longer burning (or the thermocouple) is probably bad. Call in a professional to make the repair to the appliance.

If you spot dark wall stains, smell musty odors, see rusty nails but no leaks – These may be signs of a water leak. Some, but not all water leaks, are accompanied by leaky pipes or a leaky roof. Poor ventilation within a house can cause water damage. This latter type can go undetected longer than an obvious leak, and it can cause health problems as well. Have a professional take a look at the problem.

If you have slow flushing toilets and sluggish drains – These may be symptoms of a clog or septic tank system trouble. If other drains are slow also, it is most likely that the whole system isn’t operating properly. Clogs that remain untreated can lead to a large, smelly mess. 

If you have doors or windows that won't close (or keep opening) or cracks that keep getting larger – These can be symptoms that your house is settling unevenly. The small cracks we see in concrete (for example driveways) or plaster are usually nothing to worry about, but if there are more pronounced problems, it may be time to call a structural engineer.

If you spot small piles of sand around roof drains and gutters – When a tar paper or asphalt roof starts to go bad, the little grains of sand stuck to the paper start to detach and flow downward. When you start to see bare patches on a roof, it’s getting close to time for a new roof.

If you spot small holes in wood surfaces, mud tunnels along foundations or sawdust – This could very well be symptoms of termite infestation. Call a termite inspector soon. 

If you have dimming lights, tripping breakers, hot switches and plugs, sizzling fuse boxes – These can be symptoms of an overburdened electrical system. Have an electrician check your system. It may need to be upgraded.

If you take clothes out of the dryer and they're too hot or still damp – This could be symptomatic of a dryer vent that’s clogged, especially if the duct is too long or twisted. Dryer vents should be kept as short as possible and be cleaned at least once a year.

If you have flu or allergy like symptoms when at home – This could be caused by a lack of fresh air circulating in your home, which can be caused by dirty air filters or ducts in the homes heating and cooling system. These could also be caused by adhesives and chemicals in furniture and rugs.

Posted By: Michelle Keaton-Barrow
July 06, 2014 09:23 PM

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