“We all have those projects that we say to ourselves ‘We’ll take care of that later’. Here are a few that you just don’t do that with. Take a quick glance and make sure you haven’t put any of these off.”
Denise Buck & Ed Johnson – DC Metro Realty Team
All homeowners have a lengthy list of improvements they’d like to take care of when they have the extra money or time off from work. That’s when they’ll start taking care of them, but there’s no real hurry.
On the other hand, some household repairs can’t be postponed because they put your family in danger or may do irreparable damage to your home. Other problems get worse the longer you wait to fix them.
Here are repairs that should not be ignored:
1. Leaky Roof
When water continuously seeps into your home, you risk structural damage, mold, a fire if the water connects with electrical wiring or destruction of your personal property from water damage. To save money, take care of any roof leak as soon as you discover it. You may not need to replace the entire roof, but the longer you wait the more expensive the solution becomes. To fix the roof yourself, you need to trace the leak to its source which can be tricky, and then you need to have the carpentry skills to replace shingles on a sloped surface. If you roof is in need of major repair, it could cost you on average $7,000 to hire a professional.
2. Overloaded Electrical System
Outlets or switches that feel warm, fuses that blow out frequently or flickering lights all point to too much power running through outdated electrical wiring. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an estimated 47,700 home fires involved some type of electrical failure or malfunction in 2011 (latest figures available). A professional should diagnose and repair a faulty electrical system. You’ll need to schedule an in-person estimate for a reliable cost range for repairs.
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3. Pest Infestations
Ants, termites, roaches and rodents don’t travel alone. If you see one, you can bet many others lurk just out of sight. They can eat through wood quickly until it’s unstable and structurally dangerous. Besides chewing on wood, rodents also gnaw on roofs creating leaks and chomp down on wiring, which can easily cause a fire. If you’re able to locate the pest’s entry point into your home, plug up the hole. If you have a large pest problem on your hands, you’ll need to schedule an in-person estimate for extermination costs.
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4. Plumbing Leaks
All leaks, no matter what the size, need to be addressed as soon as they’re detected. They may manifest themselves as a discolored place on your wall or ceiling that grows into a leaking bulge. Besides saving your home from permanent damage, the sooner you take care of leaky faucets, cracked pipes and running toilets, the more you’ll save on your water bills. To hire a professional plumber to repair the leak, it will cost on average $300.
5. Natural Gas Leak
Although natural gas is entirely odorless, your utility company adds mercaptan to it, which smells like rotten eggs. That helps you detect a natural gas leak, which may come from a distinguished pilot light or a broken gas main. To avoid an explosion, this needs to be repaired right away. Because of the danger involved, call 911 and they will send a gas company technician to your home. Repairs to a leak in a natural gas pipe will cost on average $450.
6. Foundation Cracks
As a home ages, the foundation may develop small cracks, but if you have one big enough to put a pencil into, that needs to be taken care of immediately. Just like your feet support your body, the foundation supports your house. Foundation damage can be life-threatening if stability is an issue. Water and pests can both gain entry into your home through foundation cracks. You need to consult in-person with a contractor or engineer to see if the crack can be repaired or what you need to do.
7. Faulty Septic Systems
If your home isn’t part of a sewer system, you have a septic tank. That’s where human waste goes into an underground container. Every two or three years the solids need to be removed from the tank by a professional. Signs that you should take action include a bad smell near the tank or a soggy area near where the tank is buried. When septic tanks get clogged or too full, that creates huge problems. You may have to start over and relocate the septic tank, which can be a very expensive. To get an accurate cost estimate, you’ll need to schedule an in-person visit with a professional.
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8. Clean Your Chimney
Creosote builds up, birds make nests and other debris gets into your chimney. If it’s not cleaned once a year, you risk carbon monoxide poisoning or a fire. You save thousands of dollars by hiring a chimney sweep and preventing your family from becoming sick and eliminating any chance of fire. To hire a professional chimney sweeper, it will cost on average $230.
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9. Plugged or Broken Gutters
Water pooling around the house may mean the gutters need cleaning or it can mean the gutter is broken or not tightly connected to the downspout. If this repair is postponed, water can get into your basement and cause rot and mold, which can be very expensive to repair. Water can also seep under your siding and cause rot. To hire a professional to repair any cracks in your gutters, it will cost on average $170.
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