Buying a house is a huge milestone in a person’s life and it’s a lot of work too. There’s the process of finding that home which can take months and sometimes even a year or more. Then there’s all the legal paperwork, getting approved for a loan, and fees to deal with. Of course, you have to find reliable movers too. Once all that stuff is over and you’ve moved into your dream home, it’s time to enjoy it.
Not so fast, you still need to take steps to make sure it continues to be your dream home. This means performing regular maintenance on everything from the basement furnace to the roof. Only half of all homeowners take care of necessary home repairs right away. For the half that neglects home maintenance, they end up paying much more for damage that could have been avoided.
Don’t be in the half that gets stuck with expensive repair bills due to damage caused by flooding, leaks, mold, or neglect. Check out this list of home maintenance issues in Orange County and how to prevent them from turning your dream into a nightmare.
1. HVAC System on the Fritz
The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC) is a vital part of your house. This system keeps the indoor environment comfortable and safe. There are many components to your HVAC system. Filters help keep the inside air clean and allergy-free, electrical connections that provide power and functionality, heating elements to provide efficient heat, and an outside compressor that cools outside air. Any one of the parts could break down if you’re not staying on top of routine inspections and maintenance. This can cause problems in the heat of the summer when you want to keep cool.
To prevent any HVAC malfunctions, you should replace your filters regularly and have a technician service your entire HVAC system at least once a year, including a complete inspection of your outdoor AC compressor.
2. Gutters Gone Bad
It’s important to keep water away from the foundation where it impacts the structural integrity of the building. Proper gutter maintenance lowers the risk of water getting to the foundation of your home. Over time, gutters become clogged with leaves, sticks, plants, tree limbs, and excessive soot from roofing shingles. There might even be a tennis ball or children’s toy that got up there somehow. Whatever it is, it could prevent rainwater from flowing properly through the gutters and downspouts. Water overflowing the gutters can weaken the anchors that secure the gutter to the house. Wide gaps between the gutter and your house allow water to get to your foundation. When that happens, fascia and soffit damage can occur.
The best preventative measure is to clean your gutters monthly, inspect for any damage to the gutters or the anchors, inspect your downspouts, and call a professional if you see any signs of damage.
3. Roof in Disrepair
Even more important than your gutters is your roof. Water damage to your house caused by roof issues can destroy walls and ceilings, attics, windows, flooring and carpeting, and can make your house uninhabitable. Missing shingles, spot leaks, broken tiles, worn or damaged roofing — these are all important things to look for to prevent future damage to your home.
Walk around your house every month or so and pay attention to the condition of your roof so you can prevent costly repairs. Having a professional inspect it annually is a good idea too.
4. Toilets, Sinks, and Undercounter Pipes Not Performing
What might look like a tiny leak around your sink or under your kitchen cabinet could cost you thousands of dollars each year! As drains become clogged, pipe fittings become eroded and loosen. As well, seals shrink, harden, and crack, and water eventually finds its way onto floors, under cabinets, and around countertops. The rubber seal at the base of the toilet that keeps water from leaking out onto the floor is also susceptible to cracking, and the water shutoff to the toilet may weaken over time.
Inspect the areas around sinks and toilets regularly, and if there is a sign of a water leak, act quickly by calling a licensed plumber to correct the issue before it gets out of hand.
5. Water Heater Can’t Take the Heat
When stepping into a warm shower or slipping into a hot bath, homeowners seldom think about the condition of their water heater. When they do, it’s because they are shivering in a cold shower. Water heaters often collect mineral sediment or debris at the base which could lead to erosion of the bottom container and flooding of the area. When water heaters become less efficient and productive you may notice a knocking noise or you may notice it takes longer for the water to become warm.
The easiest way to maintain the life of a water heater is to drain it a couple of times a year or have a professional inspect it so it can serve you well for 5-10 years.
6. Dryer Exhaust is Exhausted
Who doesn’t love a warm, freshly dried article of clothing? We all do, but after many loads of laundry and drying, lint buildup in the dryer exhaust/dryer duct can have dangerous consequences. Approximately 15,000 to 20,000 house fires are caused by clothes dryers each year. Proper maintenance and cleaning can prevent tragedies from occurring.
Empty lint traps after every use. Vacuum dryer vent using a kit, or call a professional duct cleaning service to clear out the ductwork. Do that once a year and you’ll rest easier knowing that your family and home are safe.
7. Crack in the Foundation
Over time, the foundation of your house undergoes various stressors. This includes things such as settling, weather fluctuation, and water intrusion. Maintaining a sound foundation is the most important task of any homeowner and inspecting your foundation for cracks regularly can save you thousands of dollars. It will also go a long way in helping you retain the value of your house. A cracked foundation can reduce your home’s value by as much as 15%, so staying ahead of the problem is crucial.
If you notice cracks in floors, pools of water on the flooring, sloping floors, or larger cracks in your foundation, it is important to have a structural specialist complete a thorough inspection.
8. Sump Pump Slump
If your house is equipped with a sump pump, then it’s important to perform routine maintenance to keep it functioning properly. A sump pump takes water from under and around your home, drains into a sump pump pit, and then pumps it out of your home and away from the foundation. Without a properly working sump pump, you can experience foundation issues and flooding which can result in thousands of dollars in damage.
Check the water level of your sump pump, clean the pump of any debris surrounding it, unplug and plug in your sump pump to ensure a proper energy source, install and maintain a battery backup system, and have a professional inspect it yearly.