23 Common Yet Dangerous and Costly Home Maintenance Mistakes- from The Family Manager Takes Charge
1. Failure to respect electricity. Make sure you flip the breaker or remove the proper fuse before attempting to repair anything electrical. Don’t overload circuits. A frequently blown breaker is a sign of overload or other trouble; flickering lights can indicate a problem and be a potential fire hazard. In either case, call an electrician.
2. Failure to check heating system yearly. Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas released when anything burns. Even small amounts can cause headaches and illness, and if allowed to build up, can be deadly. Install a carbon monoxide detector.
3. Failure to check for radon. Radon is a colorless, odorless substance that is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer in the US. The EPA estimates that 1/15 US homes has unhealthy levels of radon. Radon kits are available at local hardware stores for less than $25.
4. Failure to look for and fix water leaks. Even a small amount of dripping water can do big damage over time to visible things like drywall, cabinets and flooring, but also structural supports.
5. Waiting too long to paint your house. Exposed wood or strips of paint lets water penetrate the surface.
6. Failure to prepare the surface before painting. Clean the surface, and then repair any damage and prime with a coat of primer or paint.
7. Putting poor quality padding underneath carpet. This can reduce the life of the carpet. Dirt and stains can seep up and spot the new carpet- as well as cause odor.
8. Over cleaning sinks, tubs and toilet seats. Too much scrubbing with abrasive cleaners wears off the finish. Use nonabrasive cleaners.
9. Counting on unreliable warranties. Stick with well known companies and read the fine print.
10. Failing to follow manufacturer’s maintenance procedures. Be careful about trying to repair an appliance yourself. It can be dangerous and void the warranty.
11. Not putting enough insulation in your attic. Last heat translates into higher heating bills.
12. Spending too much on plumbing. A leaky kitchen or bathroom faucet may only need a $0.59 washer to repair. Take the valve cartridge to a local plumbing store.
13. Failure to keep things clean. Carpet dirt breaks down fabrics. Dusty refrigerator coils causes the system to overwork.
14. Failure to change air-conditioning/heating system filters. Reduces efficiency and causes a dirty, unsightly buildup to occur around vents.
15. Not having the chimney cleaned. Clean it each spring.
16. Failure to keep gutters free of debris. Clogged gutters can cause water damage on the roof.
17. Not trimming back trees and bushes from your roof. Same reason as above.
18. Failure to prepare for freezing temperatures. Water pipes can crack and cause thousands of dollars of damage. Seal leaks.
19. Not knowing how to shut off the water to your house. Needed in case of emergency.
20. Failure to inspect the dark, out of the way spaces. Check the attic and crawl spaces twice a year for water leaks, nesting animals or anything unusual.
21. Failure to keep things out of direct sunlight. Carpets and wood floors can fade.
22. Failure to replace your washing machine hoses every two years.
23. Caulking incorrectly. This can cause thousands of dollars of water damage.