Home Repair–Six Repairs that Should Not Be Delayed

Houses need work. This truth is sometimes lost on renters, but home owners know that issues around the house do not repair themselves. Most small home repairs can become huge problems if they are allowed to continue too long. Some repairs can be delayed for convenience sake, but others need immediate attention or scheduled maintenance. The following six items need to stay at the top of any home repair list as critical if they appear.

Repair or replace loose-fitting or damaged windows.

Windows can create problems from several directions if they age and become inefficient. Obviously, broken glass needs to be replaced. When window frames start to age and lose their ability to seal the outside air from coming inside, they need attention. The same is true of aged and cracking caulking. If the window locks no longer lock the sashes shut, even your personal safety can become a concern.

By keeping up with window repairs, you will maintain some control over your utility bills because good windows are much more efficient. In some cases, this may require replacement windows, but often just digging out a tube of silicon, some window putty or caulk, and a few tools, old windows can be given several years of additional life.

If there are cracks around the outside frame, fill them with high grade silicon to seal them up. Fresh caulk or putty around loose fitting panes will make a big improvement. Tighten or replace any fasteners that no longer serve to hold the window in place.

Fix anything that is leaking water.

Water and interior building materials are not compatible. This applies to leaky faucets, pipes, roofs, and anywhere else that water can get to where it should not be. Most of these repairs are not too difficult if the home is not extremely old. In houses 50 or more years old, you may need to call in some serious professional help to get the repairs done right. However, for most repairs, some Teflon tape, plumbers putty, and a few simple tools will get the job done.

Unless you have expensive designer faucets, you may find it easier and cheaper to replace them than to repair them. Many times a new “o” ring can repair a dripping faucet. If you are thinking of upgrading the fixture, this is the time to do it. When it comes to leaking pipes, if you are not skilled with the materials involved, expose the area where the leak is and call in the professional. Your charge will be much less if the plumber only has to fix the leak and not do all of the preliminary work to get to it.

Work on faulty door locks.

Door locks can become worn and no longer function as you need them to do. A lock that is hard to open may leave you stranded outside of your house at the worst possible time. If the lock does not latch properly, it can allow people into your home that you want to keep out. The price tag of new door knobs and locks can seem pricey, but the payback is well worth the investment for your peace of mind and family safety. Most door latches take less than 30 minutes to replace with a couple of screwdrivers.

Replace failing light switches and electrical outlets.

Unless you really like the potential of living in darkness, receiving electrical shocks, and having appliances that will not work, keep up with the repairs on the places where you interface with your home’s electrical system. Occasionally, this will require working inside the house electrical panel, but most of these repairs can be completed by turning off a breaker and employing a screwdriver to remove and replace the old switch or outlet. If you hear sizzling or popping sounds coming from a switch or outlet, replace it. The same is true if you use it and smell any hint of smoke.

Routinely replace the filters in the heating and air conditioning system.

Two to four times per year, invest in new filters and install them into the ventilating system of the house. These filters cost only a few dollars apiece and can easily yield ten times their cost in utility savings. Any dust, lint, or other foreign objects trapped in the filters impedes air flow and reduces the efficiency of your HVAC system.

Maintain the roof.

If roofing materials have been installed properly, you can forget the roof for a couple of decades unless a storm or some other catastrophe happens. Wind, rain, intense sun exposure, and a number of other factors constantly erode the materials of your roof. During the last half of the life expectancy of the roofing materials, the likelihood of roof failure climbs rapidly. It requires less force to do substantial damage to your roof. Check it regularly to make sure that it retains its integrity.

A failed roof can lead to huge interior damage to the house before you can do anything to fix it. The best way to avoid this is to have you roof inspected after hail and large thunderstorms. It needs to be looked at after during the spring time each year. Have the repairs made as soon as they are identified. If you think the damage is insured, contact your agent to open a claim as soon as possible.

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