So you’re a homeowner now. Congratulations. It was likely a long journey that brought you here. You can now rest easy and enjoy your new home for many quiet and peaceful years. Yes, the hard work is over at this point, and anyway, what could possibly go wrong? Besides everything.
Being a homeowner is a great feeling. You are a solid part of the community where you live. You are building equity in your investment and you have a nice, comfortable place to live. But what can go wrong will go wrong so homeowners need to practice preventive medicine. That means keeping on top of routine home maintenance. Even the smallest of problems can one day spout into giant headaches.
This is why homeowners need to be vigilant about everything from the ground up. That includes the foundation, walls, floors, ceilings, pipes, mechanical systems, and everything in between. This guide should give you a good idea of the more common home maintenance issues in Vancouver, as well as tips on how to prevent them.
1. Sizing Up Your Siding
You may love the look of the siding on your home. It may be unique in the neighborhood, it may even be your favorite color, but looks can be deceiving. What may appear perfect from the curb may not bear scrutiny, but a failure to pay attention to little details such as cracks and holes could cost you a lot of money down the road. Whether your home is protected by vinyl or aluminum siding, if water can get in it can damage the structure of your home.
Protect against water damage to your siding by inspecting your home’s exterior for breaks. Check the caulking around all doors and windows too and make sure there’s no damage there as well. Replace individual siding where needed. It’s a cheaper alternative to damage caused by rot or termites.
2. Your HVAC System Needs Help
Winters can get a little chilly in Vancouver during the winter. We’ve also learned a thing or two about high temperatures in the summer. For these very good reasons, homeowners need to pay attention to their heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system. Your HVAC unit keeps you warm or cool. It also improves the indoor air quality of your home, but only if it is properly maintained. Once filters get covered in the dust and dirt, they’ll start working harder but with minimal effect. It will be harder to maintain a comfortable temperature and breathe clean air. This could trigger allergies and will likely send your energy bills through the roof too.
To avoid these issues, pay attention to any strange noises coming out of the unit or ductwork. If you feel that the system is always working but never adequately heats or cools, then it’s time for a service call. Change the filter regularly and have it inspected
3. Your Sewer Line is Trying to Tell You Something
It’s great to be connected to the grid, but that also means your plumbing is probably connected to the public sewer line. You are responsible for maintaining the sewer line while it’s under your property. Repairing a broken sewer line may set you back but cleaning up the mess of a broken line will set you back more. Your neighbors won’t like it either.
If your nose is telling you something is foul with the sewer line, have it inspected right away. The same goes with your water lines. If you see mysterious puddles forming anywhere in your home, water pressure is low, or you hear hissing or bubbling sounds coming from your pipes, call a plumber.
4. Something Stinks with Your Septic System
If you aren’t connected to the public water system then you may use a septic tank to treat wastewater. A septic system is a concrete chamber built underground through which wastewater from the home travels through plastic or fiberglass pipes. Once it’s settled in the system, solids go to the bottom, liquids go to the middle, and fats, oils, and grease float on top. If your system gets clogged then things are not going as they should. You’ll know because your plumbing will start backing up and because of the smell around the septic tank.
To prevent clogging, clean the filter twice a year and have the tank pumped when it’s full which could take between two and five years to reach capacity depending on the size of the tank and other factors. You should also be careful of what you flush. Paper towels, lint, disposable diapers, etc. — these things are guaranteed to give you trouble if you try to send them through your household plumbing.
5. Your Deck is Getting Dangerous
People love to enjoy the outdoors in Vancouver and a back deck is a great place to do it. That said, wooden decks deteriorate over time. Wood rots, insects invade, and deck screws get rusty or come loose. This affects the look of your deck but it can also become a safety issue if not taken care of.
To keep your wooden deck in good shape, keep it clean and apply a coat or two of sealant to keep moisture out of the wood. Keep an eye out for wood rot. You can use a screwdriver and use it to test whether an area is rotting or not. Replace corroded deck screws and tighten or replace any loose boards, steps, or railings.
6. There’s a Fungus Among Us
Mold is unsightly, has a musty unpleasant smell, and can trigger allergies and asthma symptoms. Moisture, humidity, and a food source combine to create the perfect conditions for a mold colony to form and thrive. Mold can be a sign of a bigger problem such as standing water or a leak in the roof or foundation. Mold and other underlying conditions could cost you a lot of money if left unaddressed.
If you suspect you have mold, find out for sure. Look for discoloration under and behind sinks and baseboards. Mold feeds on building materials and cardboard too. If you see mold, clean it up immediately or call a mold remediation service. Using a dehumidifier in the basement or other humid areas helps prevent mold from growing too.
7. Plumbing Problems Can Be Very Draining
Many interesting things cause drains and pipes to become clogged. Any plumber will tell you that, but some more common culprits for toilet clogs are cat litter, flushable wipes, and dental floss. For sinks and shower drains, it’s food, hair, and grease. Sometimes it’s not even your fault. Pipe scale, leaks, overloads, and undersized pipes are sometimes to blame. Let’s not point fingers, whatever the cause the solution is usually expensive.
To keep pipes in line, be careful what you flush and pour down the drain. Don’t pour grease down the drain or coffee grounds, or any solids for that matter. Use a hair catcher in the shower or bathtub drain. Clean and flush drains once a week and use a bacterial drain cleaner once a month.