By Wilson Weaver
Serious problems can pop up around your home without much warning — some of which can cause thousands of dollars in damage. Fortunately, you can prevent the majority of these household calamities by recognizing their warning signs. Here are three signs of impending disaster that you can’t afford to miss:
A flailing furnace
Unpleasant sounds and reduced energy efficiency point toward a potentially disastrous furnace problem. In many cases, furnace issues are caused by an old or clogged air filter. Forgetting to change your furnace filter can seriously damage your furnace and threaten the safety of your home. Dirty filters restrict your furnace’s airflow and reduce its energy efficiency. This will result in higher utility bills and additional strain on your unit. An overworked furnace can also experience mechanical failures. In extreme cases, furnace defects can cause gas and carbon monoxide leaks.
Update your filter if you notice the signs of a furnace problem. Most furnace professionals recommend changing your filter once a month — especially during seasons that require constant HVAC activity. The cost of a replacement will differ according to the filter’s effectiveness. Bargain- priced models come in convenient multipacks but lack sufficient filtering capabilities. Washable filters — while more expensive than disposable models — are reusable for several years and provide excellent protection against dirt, dander and other airborne irritants.
Ignoring roofing problems can cause other issues and cost tens of thousands of dollars in future repairs. Regular roof inspections can prevent these issues. Begin your inspection by walking around your home and looking for signs of damage. Loose or broken roofing materials, curled shingles, sagging roofing, loose flashing and depressions near pipes are common signs of a problem. Attic leaks are also indicators of a roofing issue. These can appear in the form of ceiling spots, damp insulation and wet or stained interior walls. Call a pro immediately if you notice any of these problems.
Water damage warnings
Uncontrolled leaks can cause catastrophic damage to your home and spawn serious health problems. Recognizing the symptoms of water damage and routinely checking your home for these signs will help you avoid serious problems in the future.
Damp carpeting, loose tiles, peeling linoleum and cupping wood flooring are common signs of wet subflooring. This is usually due to a saturated foundation. Broken water lines, bad ventilation and faulty landscaping can cause subfloor flooding. Call a pro immediately if you notice any of these signs. Clogged gutters are also a common source of foundation-related water damage — including saturation. Sticks, leaves and other debris can fill your gutters and cause water to overflow and gather near the base of your home. Over time, this water will seep into the ground and damage your foundation. You can avoid clogged gutters with a simple seasonal cleaning.
Stains and mold growth are also signs of water damage. These problems can occur anywhere in your home, but they are most common in areas that experience regular moisture. Oftentimes, mold and stains are due to leaking pipes or poor ventilation. Attic leaks can also cause stains and mold growth in your home. Call a professional if you notice any of these problems. A pro will safely assess the problem and provide an appropriate solution. You can prevent some mold and stains by regularly inspecting the pipes around your home. Check under your bathroom and kitchen sinks, as well as in your basement. And be sure to address any leaks.
Ignore these home maintenance issues at your own risk