Check These Out

Must Do Home Repairs

Wednesday, November 2, 2005 posted by Tommi Crow

Owning a home is expensive, but postponing these repairs can ruin your house or kill your sale. Here’s what home inspectors say they look for and you should be on the lookout for, too.

1.) A Water Leak, Anywhere: Water is probably the single most destructive force on a home. Leaks can lead to rot, mold, termites. Water can cause roofs to collapse, foundations to crack and can get you blackballed by insurance companies.

The Fix: Stop the leak by any means necessary. Repair the damage and make sure you’ve taken steps to make sure it doesn’t reappear.

2.) Peeling Paint: Paint is your home’s skin. It is the first line of defense from water and pests.

The Fix: Scrape off old paint, sand until smooth, apply a primer and a coat of new paint. Painting is an easy do-it-yourself project. Paint also changes the appearance of your home and does more to update it more than any other repair.

3) Flickering Lights: Do your lights dim when start your microwave or the heat kicks on? If so, you may have too many applicances on a circuit or your wiring maybe bad. Either one is a fire hazard.

The Fix: An electrician can add more circuits or upgrade your wiring. If you can’t afford “The Fix” try to distribute power-hungry appliances by not running more than one at a time or plug them into different circuits.
If your home was build between 1965 and 1973, you may have aluminum wiring. If so, it is best to upgrade if you can afford it. If you can’t, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends using special crimp connectors and get rid of the usual twist-on style. This is not a DIY project. When it comes to electricity, it is always advisable to consult a professional, licensed electrician.

4.) Mouse in the House: Rodents (Squirrels, mice, rats) carry disease and make a mess of your home. They also love to chew through wiring, insulation and wood, making them prime suspects in many house fires.

The Fix: Use traps or bait products. If killing leaves you cold, there are some very effect “humane” traps on the market. If you catch your little freeloader alive, be sure to drive him a distance from your home before you release him. If you don’t, it will be a matter of hours before you hear the pitter patter of little feet, as he returns “home”.
Keep in mind that rodents carry a variety of diseases that make us ill such as, salmonella, the deadly Hantavirus, and the plague. If this isn’t a DIY chore you want to tackle, call a professional exterminator.

5.) Death By Electricution: Outlets in kitchens and bathrooms within 6 feet of the sink or tub (water) should be Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI).

The Fix: GFCI electrical outlets, with their distinctive red and black buttons, are a life saver, making them the best $7.00 you will ever spend. This fix can easily be done by the homeowner.
Do not use a GFCI on your refrigerator outlet. A refrigerator’s normal on/off surges can trip the interrupter and leave you with spoiled groceries.

6.) Kaboom: If your gas applicances were installed more than 10 years ago, they may still have dangerous brass connectors that break, causing explosions or fires. These should be replaced with an approved connector, typically flexible and made of stainless steel.

The Fix: This is not a DIY job. Do not move the appliance to inspect the connection. Even a slight motion can cause the weak soldered connection to break and disaster to strike. Call a licensed applicance repairperson to check connections and make any changes.

7.) Laundry is a Killer: Clothes dryers cause more than 15,000 fires every year. The reason is often a build up of lint in the duct that vents the dryer to the outside or the use of plastic ducts.

The Fix: Regularly cleaning the ducts and replacing plastic ducts with metal ones are projects you can easily do yourself.

Due to expense, many homeowners procrastinate on repairs. Some, however, should never be postponed. Ignoring these problems can result in much more expensive repairs later on, kill the sale of your home, or worst of all, you.