A slow drip coming from your faucet. A small hole in the wall. A weird, musty smell coming from the bathroom. Throughout the years, your home will show signs of needing repairs and seasonal maintenance. The question is: How do you know if that musty smell is harmless or a sign that something is seriously wrong?
Be sure to keep an eye out for the signs of an emergency home repair and take steps to protect your home. Keep reading to see which repairs you should always be prepared to tackle and how to recognize the signs it might be an emergency.
Pipes can burst in cold weather if the water inside begins to freeze. Alternatively, they could break or leak due to rust and physical damage. If you don’t take steps to prevent and quickly fix your broken pipes, then the effects on your home could be costly. Your home may experience flooding, which in turn could cause damage to your floors, walls, furniture and other belongings.
Here are a few signs your leaky pipes might need an emergency repair:
Related: Plumbing maintenance tips.
If you wait too long to fix a leak in your roof, your home may be susceptible to mold growth, insulation damage, interior damage or even structural damage. While an obvious sign of a leaking roof is a drip inside your home, there are other signs that could indicate a roof problem:
You'll know something is wrong with your water heater when your shower and sink water runs cold for too long or altogether. However, water heaters can develop other dangerous issues such as breaks and leaks. These are usually signs of structural damage or mold and mildew growth.
In some cases, you may be able to repair your broken water heater. That being said, if the heater is old, leaking or has excessive rust, you may need to replace it. Here are a few signs you might have an emergency repair on your hands:
If your toilet won’t unclog or if it’s overflowing for no apparent reason, then that may be an indicator of a larger problem with your pipes or drains. When a plunger can’t get the job done, put it down and consider getting a professional's opinion. It may be a more serious issue if:
Related: Toilet repair troubleshooting tips.
A gas leak can give off a bad smell or cause your plants to suddenly wilt. The worst-case scenario is that this could lead to an explosion or illness. If you suspect a gas line is leaking, please call your gas company, along with your local fire department, and be sure to evacuate your home as soon as possible. For more guidance, visit the U.S. Department of Energy website.
Here are a few signs it might be an emergency:
When the hot summer months hit, the last thing you want to do is sit in a warm, stuffy home. If you don’t fix your broken air conditioner or HVAC system, then that’s exactly what could happen. Apart from making your home uncomfortable, a broken A/C with electrical issues (or an A/C that’s not properly maintained) could be a fire hazard.
Here are a few signs you might have an emergency repair:
A furnace distributes heat throughout a home. If you have a gas or oil furnace, it’s important to regularly clean it and get it checked by a professional to prevent deadly amounts of carbon monoxide from leaking.
Here are a few signs you might need emergency furnace repair services:
For more advice, visit the CDC website.
A dead lightbulb is no cause for concern. However, please be sure to call an electrician when there are signs of extensive electrical problems. If you don't address major electrical issues, your home could be at risk of an electrical fire.
Here are a few signs you shouldn’t ignore:
Windows keep water, heat and cold out while letting light in. However, in the event that there's a little stormy weather or a game of catch, things can go wrong. This may cause damage or send your energy bills soaring. Get your windows repaired if:
Cracks in concrete may not always indicate a severe problem. However, there might be an issue if you notice the cracks are large and spreading quickly. If left untreated over time, you might need to replace the entire foundation, which could be costly.
Mice, rats, termites, cockroaches, bed bugs and other pests can cause structural damage to your home and may pose health risks. These pests can also make your home unlivable and uncomfortable.
You may need emergency pest control services if:
Mold may grow in areas in your home in locations where there's a lot of moisture. Aside from looking and smelling unpleasant, significant mold growth can cause health issues or structural damage. Here are a few signs to watch out for:
If you’re working from home — or if you have children who need to stay connected to complete their online lessons — you may need access to your internet, computer and other devices. But if you notice these signs, you might need a few repairs:
When a home emergency occurs, you need to resolve it ASAP. The longer it takes to research and find a qualified professional, the longer you’ll have to wait for the problem to be fixed. Click through to see which steps you should take now.
Read the reviews thoroughly to get a sense of their quality and accountability. For some repairs, you’ll also want to look at customer photos to judge the work yourself.
Once you’ve found a few pros for each home repair, make a list and get their contact information. This will allow you to know who to call immediately if your home is in trouble.
Provided your finances are stable and you don’t have other pressing financial priorities or obligations, then consider prioritizing the creation of an emergency savings fund.
Every month or with every paycheck, set aside a little bit of money that can be devoted to emergencies such as home repairs.
Read over your homeowners’ insurance policy to find out if you’re covered in the event of flooding, roof damage, fire damage and other issues in your home. If you don’t fully understand what is covered in your policy, please call your agent to get more details.
The best way to avoid costly repairs and breakdowns in the future is to stay on top of home maintenance. Clean your gutters, sweep your chimney, schedule routine HVAC service — these are just a few of the important maintenance tasks you should do throughout the year.
Remember to take note of any areas or appliances in your home that haven’t been inspected, maintained or cleaned recently. If you see any areas that need repairs, prioritize the ones that need immediate attention and make a plan to resolve them.
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