8 Common home problems you shouldn’t ignore – and what to do about them

Taking care of your home is paramount, yet it's not often easy to spot a maintenance issue. Overlooking these can lead to costly repairs and even compromise your safety, so here are 8 common home problems you should never ignore...

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Even if your home needs some essential maintenance, don’t worry – it’s easy to find a solution to most household problems. And you can even prevent issues from coming up at all if you plan ahead. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and ensure that your house remains a safe place for you and your family…

1. Persistent plumbing issues

While a leaking tap or slowly draining sink might seem like minor problems, they’re signs of underlying plumbing issues. The longer these situations persist, the higher your water bills can skyrocket.

Moreover, unchecked leaks can cause significant damage to your home’s interior and foundations. Thus, as soon as you suspect there’s a problem with your plumbing system, seek professional help from a plumber or get a drain inspection instead of just applying temporary fixes.

However, there’s no need to panic – first, you can check for DIY solutions and rule out any easy-to-fix problems. For example, you could use a drain-unblocking solution to try to clear sinks and traps. I do this regularly and it keeps our bathroom plumbing running smoothly.

Likewise, if you think there’s a blockage in the pipes from your toilet, sink or bath, you can try using a plunger to loosen the block and get the system working well again. And if you have a leaking tap, it might just be a corroded washer, which is cheap to fix compared to having the plumbing redone.

2. Dangerous electrical faults

Electrical issues should never be taken lightly. Flickering lights or consistent circuit breaker trips might not just be an inconvenience, but a warning sign of severe electrical problems.

These mishaps can lead to major accidents like electrical shocks or even house fires so always consult with a qualified electrician to identify and solve potential hazards as soon as they appear. Don’t compromise your home’s safety and don’t ever try to attempt to DIY electrics yourself – no shortcut is worth it!

3. Damp and mould build-up

The presence of dampness or mould in your home isn’t just unsightly, it’s a health hazard. Persistent dampness can lead to the growth of harmful moulds which, if not treated promptly, can trigger long-term health risks.

Here’s a quick overview of why you shouldn’t ignore signs of dampness or mould:

  • It damages your home’s aesthetics
  • Damp conditions facilitate mold growth causing potential allergic reactions
  • Structural damage may occur in severe cases

Therefore, fast action is essential here. Seek professional help to tackle dampness – it may be that your home needs better insulation in the cavity walls or roof. But there are things you can do yourself; keep your home clean; make sure that rooms are well heated and ventilated, and use a mould cleaning spray to wash away any mouldy areas on the walls.

4. Cracks in the foundation

It may feel daunting to face, but you should never ignore cracks in your foundation or large cracks in your walls. These defects are often evidence of structural issues that can destabilize and devalue your home over time.

Even one small crack can allow water to seep into your home, causing damage that ranges from mould growth to compromised electrical wiring so don’t dismiss these warning signs! Likewise, if you have crawl spaces under your home, you’ll need to keep an eye on them for dampness and perhaps consider waterproofing before you require a crawl space repair.

It’s vital to ensure foundations or structural problems are addressed promptly by a specialized contractor before they escalate. Once they’ve been assessed, it may turn out that the crack is the wall is historic movement and isn’t getting any bigger, so it can be safely filled and repaired for good.

5. Chronic heating and ventilation problems

Living comfortably in your home involves more than just beautiful décor. It also means maintaining a comfortable temperature, which becomes tough if your heating, ventilation or air conditioning (HVAC) system is faulty.

Persistent issues such as unusual noises, erratic functioning, or poor temperature control might indicate something’s wrong. Don’t let the problem snowball into costly repairs or replacements. Instead, regular maintenance and professional servicing are key to keeping your system in tip-top shape.

What you can do is keep the heating system clean and dust-free and, if the user manual says it is safe to do so, you can change filters in your air conditioning or extraction systems.

6. Roof-related problems

A sturdy roof is integral to protecting your home and everyone in it from the elements. Missing tiles, leaks during rain, or daylight seeping in through the attic are all signs of potential roof damage.

These issues can lead to severe water damage inside your home if ignored. As part of proper home maintenance, regular inspections are essential for timely roofing repairs and replacements by professional roofers. Remember, it’s better to fix minor problems early than face hefty repair costs stemming from major roof failures later on.

A good tip is to use a camera to inspect your roof – NEVER climb up there yourself! Instead, you can take a photo or a video of the roof from the ground and use the zoom function to check out the tiles and ridge. If you spot something unusual, you’ve already got a photo that you can show to a roofing company when arranging the repair.

7. Window and door woes 

Does your front door stick a little too much? Perhaps, you’re noticing drafts from your windows despite them being closed? These could be signs of more significant issues.

Drafts may indicate poor insulation that can increase your heating and cooling costs. A disturbingly stiff door could mean foundation issues. To fix these problems, run regular checks on windows and doors in your home. When required, don’t hesitate to get professional assistance to ensure sturdy installations and perfect fits.

Last year, I added foam insulating tape around the edges of my living room windows. We’d noticed draughts had been rippling the curtains on windy days so there was definitely a gap around the frames. The tape was low-cost, self-adhesive and solved this mini problem – we’ve not had any draughty windows since.

8. Pervasive pests

A small pest problem can quickly turn into an infestation if not addressed promptly. Rodents, insects or woodworms not only damage your property but also pose health risks.

These unwanted guests can:

  • Cause structural damage by eating away at your home’s structure
  • Contaminate food and spread diseases
  • Create uncomfortable living situations

At the first sign of a pest issue, take immediate action. DIY solutions might work for minor problems, but professional pest control services are often necessary to fully eradicate the problem and keep your home safe.

Let’s face it, prevention is always better than cure, especially in terms of home maintenance. Recognising these common home issues before they become big problems can help save you money and lots of stress. If you keep an eye out for common problems and enlist professional help when needed, you’ll be able to make sure that your home remains the secure sanctuary it’s meant to be.

Do you have any tips for maintaining your home on a budget? Let me know your safe DIY hacks in the comments below.

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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