5 Home Maintenance Nightmares—And How to Prevent Them

What do you do when you can’t sleep? Count sheep? Watch TV? Use a relaxation technique? Or do you anxiously run through everything that could go wrong with your home? If you’re like most homeowners, it’s hard not to let your imagination run away with you. That drip in the sink? Could easily become a gushing torrent of water one day. The crack in the wall? Might as well count yourself homeless right now.

The truth is, most household issues don’t end in complete disaster. But that might not stop your mind at 3:00 am. Still, you’ll sleep a lot better knowing you’ve done your due diligence to prevent these homeowner nightmares from springing to life. Just a little bit of regular home maintenance here and there will ward off some of the worst home boogie men—and save you from those late-night infomercials!

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Dodge Plumbing Disasters with a Little Pipe Upkeep

Imagine coming home to find that a small river had suddenly sprung up in your kitchen. It happens more frequently than we’d like to think. In fact, even the most diminutive plumbing leaks can cause Amazon-sized destruction, leading to swelled flooring, wrecked carpets—and mold growth, besides. But luckily, you’re not helpless to prevent them. In fact, one of the most impactful things you can do is lower your water pressure. High pressure is exactly that—pressure—and it can stress your pipes and reduce their life expectancy. Use a hose bib gauge to test your home’s psi; ideally, you’ll get a reading somewhere between 40 and 85. Don’t forget about what’s going on inside the pipes, either. Hard water can eventually corrode them and cause leaks, so install and maintain a water softener in your home, especially if you have high mineral content.

Avoid Roof Leaks with Regular Inspections

Like a burst pipe, a leaky roof can cause all kinds of havoc—and leave you on the line for thousands of dollars. And while you’ll probably notice the former, roof leaks can be trickier to catch on time, especially if they originate in the attic or between the walls. To combat potential roofing problems, have your roof inspected regularly—ideally once a year. Roofing pros not only look at your shingles and gutters, they also inspect the flashing around your chimney and vents as well. And they’ll be able to detect signs of a leak in your attic, too. A little prevention now could just save you from catastrophe later.

Sidestep Mold by Keeping Surfaces Happy and Dry

A mold infestation is a truly scary thought. Left to its own devices, mold can cost you up to $6,000 to remove and remediate. Meanwhile, it’s a health disaster, that can exacerbate existing conditions like asthma or cause life-threatening infections. And mold is sneaky. It often springs up undetected in unfrequented spaces, like in basements, crawl spaces and attics. To beat it, make sure to check for condensation and moisture near your air conditioning duct work and around your walls, basement floor and windows. You’ll also be doing yourself a favor if you regularly clean your gutters—it keeps moisture away from your walls and foundation and prevents mold in less obvious spots.

Ward Off Pest Infestations with Frequent Maintenance

You probably don’t need anyone to tell you how disgusting and uncomfortable a rodent or insect infestation can make you feel. Your home is supposed to be a retreat from the outside world, not a makeshift roach motel! But not if you leave your pest prevention up to chance. Neglected maintenance tasks, like untrimmed tree branches, untended cracks in walls and unaddressed pipe leaks may lure pests into your home. And of course, they’re drawn like literal moths to the flame when there’s open food and garbage around. A regular cleaning and maintenance schedule will help take care of those pesky critters, as will decking your home out with pest-repelling plants, like citronella, neem, marigolds and mint. Nothing like a little all-natural pest prevention!

Protect Yourself from a Sticky Sewage Situation

Sewage leaks give pest infestations a run for their money in the “disgusting household emergencies” department (although we can’t say why someone created that department in the first place!). A sewer line failure is a truly disturbing event—and if it happens in your yard, it’s your problem, not the city’s. But a little foresight here can go a long way to preventing a really icky situation. If you have clay pipes on your sewer line, have them snaked annually to limit tree root intrusion. You’ll also want to hire a professional plumber to clean the sewer lines once a year, regardless of the type. And keep your eyes peeled for signs of impending trouble: toilets that gurgle after flushing or standing water in your basement floor drain. We can’t promise it will cure your insomnia, but this way, you can at least cross off one item on your list of anxieties!

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