Warning Signs You Might Be Spending A Fortune On Home Maintenance In The Near Future

Monica Gray - December 13, 2023

Being a homeowner comes with a host of emotions, and encapsulates everything from exciting to stressful. When something in your home breaks, it’s important to address the issue as quickly as possible, and it’s incredibly important to stay on top of your home maintenance. If you let issues simmer, the problem will only get worse and may eventually lead to costly repairs that cost a fortune to fix. If you notice any of the following issues in your home, make sure you address them as quickly as possible to prevent a costly repair. This ranges from electrical issues, gutter blockages, faulty plumbing, and pest infestations.


Persistent Water Stains

Water damage restoration can quickly add up, especially if you’re not staying on top of repairs. If there are noticeable water stains on ceilings or walls, it could indicate a hidden leak, potentially leading to costly repairs. Removing any water and repairing your home could cost anywhere from $100 to $100,000. This includes damages from burst pipes, accidental water leaks, ice dams, and water damage from heavy rain.

Water damage is separated into three categories, Category 1, Category 2, and Category 3. With Category 1, the water is not contaminated with any chemicals or biohazard materials. Gray water is considered Category 2, contaminated with harmful chemicals like food products or laundry detergent. Black water, or Category 3, is the most expensive type of water damage to repair, as it’s been in contact with sewage water or groundwater (Today’s Homeowner).


Creaky Or Uneven Floors

Uneven or excessively creaky floors may suggest structural issues, requiring professional assessment and potential intervention. Repairing an entire room may cost you between $6,500 to $10,500. It mainly depends on the materials used and the square footage of your room. Luckily, sagging floors won’t cost you as much as a fortune when compared to other damages. But it will cost you much more if the damage extends beyond just the flooring, where the floors might need to be ripped up and completely replaced.

If you have creaky floors, it’s better to get them fixed sooner rather than later. If you wait too long, the damage may cost you more. Dips or slopes can be caused by rotting wood, problems in the home’s foundation, or undersized beams. To completely fix creaky floors, the main cost will come from labor (Bobvila).


Cracks in the Foundation

On average, repairing cracks in the foundation of your home costs $5,000. However, cracks in the foundation may signal structural problems, demanding immediate attention to prevent further damage. At the higher end, these repairs can cost roughly $7,790. But it’s worth the price to keep your home protected. The foundation is one of the most important aspects of your home since it keeps your structure upright.

Horizontal cracks are the most dangerous ones since they symbolize potential hydrostatic pressure. Eroding soil, poor drainage, and a sinking foundation may all contribute to foundational cracks, which will need repairs like leveling, waterproofing, underpinning, and reinforcement (Architectural Digest).

Master Shield

Peeling Exterior Paint

Peeling paint on the exterior can expose your home to the elements, leading to more extensive and expensive damage over time. Exterior paint is your home’s protection from water infiltration. Unfortunately, with peeling exterior paint, this may lead to wood rot mold, and insects. If you don’t take care of the problem straight away, there may be an underlying issue that’s costly.

Peeling paint will also make your home look like it’s not well maintained, which isn’t a good look for a homeowner! If the problem is caught early on and is just peeling paint, you can get rid of the peeling paint by using a paint scraper to get rid of any paint and create a smooth area (Master Shield).


Mold or Mildew Growth

The presence of mold, especially toxic mold, or mildew indicates moisture issues, which, if left unaddressed, can result in costly remediation and health concerns. If you live in a humid area, you’re more at risk for mold growth. If you catch the mold problem before it spreads, consider yourself lucky. Paper sheathing, wood moldings, insulation, and ceiling tiles can all act as food sources for mold. Basements with water damage can also encourage mold spores since they’re moist areas where mold and mildew thrive.

Mold exposure can seem like an allergic reaction but indicates something far more serious. It’s best to treat the root cause of the mold problem to prevent it from coming back. This can be costly, especially if it is with a system that cannot simply be cleaned out and must be replaced. The moment you notice mold growth in your home, it’s important to take care of the problem straight away (Find Law).


Insect And Pest Infestations

When mice, termites, and cockroaches infest your home, the damage can be irreversible. Ongoing pest issues, such as termites or carpenter ants, can cause significant structural damage if not addressed promptly. Not only are insects unsanitary, but they can cause significant damage to your home and personal possessions. If you notice any pests, it’s important to take care of them straight away to avoid potential, severe damage.

One-time pest control services will cost nearly $1,000, though pest control depends on the type of pest in your home. Mosquito treatment may cost as little as $100, but cockroach extermination may cost upwards of $8,000. Rats and mice exterminator costs may set you back upwards of $2,500. Bed bugs will set you back around $6,150, depending on the number of infected rooms (Forbes).


Flickering Lights or Electrical Issues

Electrical problems may lead to safety hazards and require professional intervention to avoid costly repairs or potential fire risks. On average, an electric repair bill will cost you between $300 to $4,000. Fire risk is the biggest hazard when it comes to electrical issues. A dead lightbulb is an easy fix, whereas blown fuses can indicate a more serious problem.

If there’s something wrong with your electrical appliances, it’s better to call an expert straight away to prevent any further damage. Never continue using your electrical appliance if it seems faulty or is blowing a fuse. Some problems are DIY and easy to fix, but if you’re ever in doubt, always call a professional (Wallet Genius).


Gutter Blockages

Many problems arise from gutter blockages. Clogged gutters can lead to water damage, affecting the roof, siding, and foundation, necessitating expensive repairs. Gutters play a huge role in the safety of your home since they take water away from your house. As you’ve learned, a little bit of water can cause a significant amount of damage.

If your gutter is blocked, it’ll allow water to spill all over the sides of your home and down your walls. The water will also pool in your gutters, weighing them down, bending them, and eventually tearing them away from your roof. Pooled water can also rot away the wooden fascia boards that your gutters are mounted to, pulling them away from your house. Lastly, pooled water attracts mosquitos, which can lead to an infestation (Erie Insurance).


Aging Roof Shingles

Shingles showing signs of wear and tear or reaching the end of their lifespan may indicate the need for a costly roof replacement. If your shingles are lifted at the bottom, they’re more prone to being blown off by high winds or penetrated by water and snow. And curled edges indicate the shingles are completely reaching the end of their life.

By simply taking a walk around your property, you can get the gist of your roof’s condition. Many weather events like wind and rain can knock your shingles away from your home. If your shingles are discolored or fading, this is another indication that they’re deteriorating. Moss and algae may grow on your roof material, and it’s important to clean it off if you notice this, as it may lead to decay (New View Roofing).


Sudden Spike in Utility Bills

Unexplained increases in utility bills may point to issues with insulation, HVAC systems, or other energy efficiency concerns. There are a few main reasons why your energy bill keeps rising. If you notice strange odors when the system is kicked on, or the system kicks on and off randomly, your system might need repairs. Don’t wait around to see if it magically fixes itself, these repairs can be costly.

Electricity leaks can cause a spike in your electricity bill, and it can be a time-consuming fix that needs an electrician. These leaks are typically caused by a short circuit with a low current flow, which means it’s wasted energy that’s not directed at any particular source. This equates to wasted energy and a lot of wasted money. Using appliances for too long, that need an upgrade, can also contribute to a spike in utility bills. If your appliance is acting up or isn’t running as efficiently as it used to, it might be time to replace it. The investment for a new appliance will save you tons of money on your utility bills in the long run (Raleigh Electricians).

Utility Ones

Faulty Plumbing

Around 40 percent of construction costs come from faulty plumbing. Leaking pipes or plumbing issues can lead to water damage and mold, resulting in significant repair costs. There are tons of dangers that come with ignoring faulty plumbing. Undetected leaks can cause mold growth, water damage, and structural problems.

Every year, roughly one trillion gallons of water are lost from household leaks. Pipe corrosion leads to various leaks and bursts, and accumulated debris and grease may cause drains to clog. Mineral buildup leads to water pressure problems, which can affect even the slightest everyday tasks like showering and using the sink. Faulty plumbing could cost upwards of tens of thousands of dollars to repair, so it’s crucial to fix the issues when you first notice them (Utilities One).


Tree Limbs Overhanging the Roof

Overhanging tree limbs can pose a threat during storms, potentially causing roof damage or more extensive issues. They can easily scratch and scrape the roofing materials, leading to premature curling, moisture rot, and single loss. Over time, if this issue is not addressed, it can lead to attic leaks and serious water damage that will be costly to repair. Tree limbs may also lose leaves that fall straight into your gutter, leading to clogged gutter and mildew growth.

To prevent this from happening, plant trees away from your house. When you start to notice branches growing towards your home, make sure you hire a professional to cut them away. This will be a lot cheaper than having to repair the damage done by tree branches (A Complete Tree Care).


Deteriorating Chimney

A deteriorating chimney can lead to water leaks and structural damage, necessitating expensive repairs. This can cost upwards of hundreds of dollars. Leaking water leads to wood rot. If there’s extensive wood rot throughout your entire chimney, this can cost around $4,000 to repair. If your chimney liner is in poor condition and you need to completely replace it, it might cost you upwards of $7,000. Your chimney’s mortar prevents it from collapsing and can cost a huge fortune, upwards of $2,500 to repair if there’s severe damage.

The chimney flue directs smoke out of your house, and if it’s cracked, it can lead to harmful fumes that backtrack into your home. This can cost nearly $1,000 to fix, but you must do so. A leaning chimney stack is another serious issue that may cost upwards of $4,000 to repair (Forbes).


Worn-Out HVAC Systems

Aging or inefficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems may require costly replacements or repairs. The longer these go without replacement or proper care, the more energy they suck up, without getting the job done. When there’s a refrigerant leak, your condenser has to work harder to keep your home feeling comfortable. The issue gets worse the longer you wait, and eventually, the condenser will completely give out. The HVAC system outside has a fan that blows hot air from the inside to the outside.

Sometimes, branches, dirt, and dust get trapped inside the HVAC unit and cause it to deteriorate. The louver is in charge of distributing cool and warm air across your home. But if you don’t carefully handle your HVAC unit and move the louver, it might break. Never touch the louver with your hands, because doing so may end up costing you a lot of money (Ambient Edge).


Sagging or Leaning Walls

Similar to leaning floors, walls that appear to be sagging or leaning may indicate structural problems that require immediate attention. To fix this may cost upwards of $8,000. Fixing just the wall may already set you back $400, but installing “underpinning” to support your home’s foundation can cost upwards of $30,000.

For example, wall anchors cost a fortune, anywhere between $80 to $150 per foot, and typically need to be placed every five feet to make sure they’re safe and effective. Some companies may recommend you use fiber straps instead of wall anchors, which can range upwards of $275 per foot, and be installed every four feet. Another expensive replacement is drywall, which can cost upwards of $8 per square foot (Today Homeowner).


Cracked or Chipped Exterior Bricks

Cracks in exterior bricks can compromise the structural integrity and insulation of your home, leading to expensive repairs. Brick veneer can cost up to $24 per square foot, and brick repointing can cost up to $20 per square foot. Repairs could set you back a whopping $6,500 per square foot, depending on the issues and methods of repair.

First, you’ll need to figure out the root issue as to why you have chipped or cracked exterior bricks and go from there. If a tree is causing the issue, it’s best to remove the tree completely. If leaking gutters are causing the issue, then it’s necessary to repair the gutters as well and prevent further water damage (Home Advisor).


Pooling Water Around the Foundation

Water pooling around the foundation can contribute to structural issues, demanding drainage solutions to prevent costly damage. Angie Hicks, chief customer officer at Angi, says, “According to Angi cost data, repairing a foundation can cost anywhere from $2,162 to $7,795. Homeowners can expect to pay $4,974 on average.”

In extreme cases, it can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Charlotte Granville, home remodeling specialist says, “The complexity of the issue and the severity of the damage all factor into the final cost of foundation repairs, which can range from $350 for small cracks to up to $20,000 if the structure starts to crumble.” It’s important to keep this in mind if you notice pooling water around your foundation. First, fix the issue to prevent water from pooling in the foundation. If there’s already damage, you’ll need to repair it as the house’s foundation is its full support system (Bank Rate).


Foul Odors

Unpleasant smells, especially those resembling mold or rot, may signal hidden issues that could lead to expensive repairs. Foul odors can come from numerous places, including sewer odors that permeate from your drains, which is common in unused bathrooms. This is thanks to the U-shaped pipes in the bathroom, which, if left unused, allow the evaporated water to move into your bathroom and cause a huge stench.

If your home has a musty smell, then it’s likely from mildew or mold growing inside your home. It’s the most common in damp areas, as we saw earlier. Failing to properly clean your home, especially when you have pets, may lead to foul odors from a litter box or accumulation of fur. Pets may also have accidents on the carpet that could potentially go undetected for days. Figuring out the root cause of foul odors is incredibly important to get rid of it completely. Fixing the issue may cost a fortune, anywhere from hundreds, to thousands of dollars (Oransi).


Aging Water Heater

An old or malfunctioning water heater may be on the verge of failure, requiring a costly replacement. Water heater repairs can cost upwards of $591, with a high of nearly $1,000. The cost will solely depend on the type of water heater, required parts, necessary labor, and the type of water heater used.

In the best-case scenario, only one repair is necessary, however, the older it is, the more likely it needs repairs. It’s best to completely replace an old water heater so it’s working as efficiently as possible, though this may be costly in the long run. Typically, a water heater lasts between 8-12 years, so if your water heater is edging on the older age, it might be time to start looking at new ones. Even though it might feel like you’re about to spend a fortune on a new one, it ends up costing less than having to fix the damages done by a faulty one (Bobvila).


Outdated or Faulty Wiring

Expect to pay upwards of $30,000 to replace or repair faulty wiring. Homes with outdated or faulty wiring may pose fire risks, necessitating rewiring for safety and preventing potential expensive damages. It’s necessary to replace faulty wiring. Around 51,000 home electrical fires occur every single year, and it’s because of faulty wiring.

There are several warnings when it comes to your home, which include light bulbs that frequently burn out at the socket, sparks from the electrical outlet when you pull out the cord, and lights that constantly dim or flicker. Unfortunately, when this happens, it’s likely a system-wide issue that may cost you tens of thousands of dollars. Your home size will impact the cost of replacing the wiring, where larger homes will cost more to repair than smaller ones. Home expert Bailey Carson says, “The cost will vary greatly based on whether you’re simply upgrading electrical panels, rewiring part of your home, or rewiring the whole house.” Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry (Bank Rate).


Landscaping Challenges

There’s nothing better than having a beautiful yard! You might put a lot of work and effort into your landscape. Unfortunately, you have to be extra careful your landscape doesn’t pose any challenges that might damage your home. Poor drainage in your yard can lead to water pooling around the foundation, causing damage over time. Addressing landscaping issues early can prevent future home maintenance headaches.

Common landscaping challenges include drainage woes, which can result from a new patio. According to Daren Langhorne, “After [a] patio is built, however, we know that heavier rains will deposit silt on the patio, which doesn’t look great and requires routine maintenance.” Make sure you have proper drainage in your yard before installing anything else, to prevent any serious damages (Houzz).


Rapidly Dying Plants

A sudden decline in the health of your garden or landscaping, with plants wilting and dying despite your best efforts, might be an indication of an underground plumbing issue. When sewage leaks into the surrounding soil, plants absorb harmful chemicals that can lead to their deterioration over time. While initially troubleshooting common factors such as water, sunlight, and nutrient availability is essential, persistent problems may point to hidden plumbing leaks as the culprit.

Taking swift action becomes imperative not only for the health of your plants but also to avoid the financial burden associated with repairing extensive plumbing damage. Delaying the resolution of underground leaks can escalate repair costs significantly, making it essential to conduct thorough investigations and enlist professional assistance to identify and rectify any plumbing issues affecting your garden or landscaping. (Rural Sprout).


Excessive Ice Dams in Winter

Ice dams on the roof not only pose a risk of water infiltration and damage but can also lead to expensive erosion and harm to gutters and downspouts. Repairing such damages can be a significant financial undertaking, potentially costing up to $12,900, as highlighted by Bobvila. Acknowledging the wisdom in the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” homeowners are advised to take proactive measures to avoid the costs associated with ice dam removal.

Implementing prevention techniques before winter sets in is a prudent approach. This involves regular cleaning of the roof and gutters, installing roof ridge vents to facilitate proper ventilation, using roof heating cables to prevent ice buildup, and sealing the roof access hatch to minimize heat escape. By investing time, effort, and some upfront costs in these preventive measures, homeowners can safeguard their roofs and prevent the formation of ice dams, ultimately avoiding the financial strain associated with repairing consequential damages. (Bobvila).


Foggy or Moisture-Laden Windows

Persistent condensation between window panes may indicate seal failure and the need for window replacement. If you notice foggy windows, you need to immediately look at the bigger issue to prevent more heat from leaking out of your home and spending a fortune on repairs.

According to The Spruce, “As a result, moisture in the infiltrating air can condense when conditions are right (colder outer glass against warm air inside the glass panel), causing the glass to develop the hazy fogginess that most everyone has seen.” This is more likely to happen with windows that are decades old. If you live in an older house, then it’s more likely this will happen than a new house with newer windows. Repairing them is necessary since it’ll save you money in the long run (The Spruce).


Rapidly Rusting Pipes

Excessive rust on pipes may signal corrosion and potential leaks, requiring replacement. It’s dangerous to drink tap water from rusty pipes since it could lead hazardous chemicals into your water without you knowing it. Rusting pipes are also weaker, which means they’re more likely to burst. This is a costly repair in itself, costing upwards of thousands of dollars. On average, it costs around $4,080 to repair rusty pipes, a fortune when compared to the original cost of pipes.

According to Puget Sound Plumbing, “As galvanized pipes corrode and form rust, lead that has accumulated in the zinc over the years can be released and make its way into the drinking water. Lead is dangerous to the human body, even in small doses, and can cause a variety of health complications.” If you notice sudden changes in your health, like unexplained fatigue and other symptoms, you might want to check out your pipes. It’s important to stay on top of the quality of your pipes to prevent costly damages (Puget Sound Plumbing).

Is my ceiling going to collapse on my head? Roof has had a leak for over 1 year. Landlord is very aware and says contractors will repair but no dates provided. Thoughts

Sagging Ceiling

A drooping ceiling may indicate water damage or structural issues, necessitating immediate investigation. This may result from water leakage, broken pipes, or clogged gutters that are causing water to run into your home and collect in your ceiling. Unfortunately, if this happens, you need to repair it immediately to prevent it from collapsing. There’s usually an underlying issue you need to resolve that causes the sagging ceiling.

These repairs can cost a fortune and are usually anywhere between $250 to $1,000. If you notice any other strange signs, like pooling water or clogged gutters, you might prevent a sagging ceiling in the long run. Always repair something the moment you notice it seems off. If the ceiling does drop, it poses the risk of mold spores spreading around your home and causing even more damage (Forbes).

Water pressure issue : r/Plumbing

Unexplained Spike in Water Pressure

Beyond the immediate inconvenience of a sudden rush of water during a shower, excessively high water pressure can inflict lasting damage on various components of your plumbing system. Pipes, appliances, and fixtures are particularly vulnerable to the strain of elevated water pressure, and the resulting repairs can entail substantial costs, potentially running into thousands of dollars. The sensation of increased water pressure may seem pleasant during a shower, but it’s a telltale sign that your Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV) is wearing out and requires replacement.

Moreover, persistent high water pressure can wreak havoc on your water heater, causing potential damage to fixtures and appliances. To gauge the extent of the issue, it’s advisable to consult with neighbors and inquire about their water pressure experiences. If they report normal pressure levels and you’re the sole individual experiencing these issues, it likely signifies a concern within your plumbing system. (CLT Water Blog).