Picture this: You’re having a big dinner party for some very important people and you want the evening to be perfect. An hour before the guests are set to arrive, you can’t help but notice an unpleasant odour coming from the basement. You open the door leading down to your basement only to discover a foot of water and the source of that smell. If only you had seen the warning signs that your pipes were about to burst before you scheduled this very important party…

Unexpected issues always seem to arise at the most inconvenient times with a heavy price tag attached to fix them. While you can’t stop your home from encountering the odd issue here and there, you can learn the home warning signs that lead to big problems.

Electrical

fire electrical outlet

Image courtesy of Realtor.com

Smoke or sparks.

A burning smell coming from anything electrical is immediate cause for concern. The smell could be the start of an electrical fire. If you can smell burning coming from your outlets or switches, it’s important that you turn off the power from your electrical panel. The problem could be something minor like a faulty device, but it could also be something more extensive like a wiring problem. Until you know for sure, do not plug anything into the outlet you are suspicious of.

The occasional spark when you first plug in a new appliance is normal and shouldn’t stop you from using the outlet. However, if you see sparks that are larger than normal or they happen frequently, it could be signs there’s a problem with your outlet or circuit. Listen for a popping sound, this could be due to a loose wire.

Electrical work is something you should not attempt to DIY, especially if you’re concerned about an electrical fire. The best way to ensure your home’s electrical system is up to date is to have a qualified electrician take a look and make any repairs that are necessary.

Warm light fixtures.

Did you know that something as simple as a light fixture in your ceiling using the wrong bulb can result in a fire hazard? It’s important to know what wattage is required and that you do not exceed the maximum recommended wattage. Using the wrong bulb can result in the fixture overheating and potentially starting a fire.

To check if your ceiling light fixtures are over heating, you will need to feel the ceiling around the light. If it feels hot to the touch you may have an insulation problem. If you’re concerned about the fixtures in your home, it’s always best to call in a professional to assess them.

Plumbing

white bathroom

Image courtesy of The Spruce

Changes in water flow.

The water flow in your taps should be consistent day-to-day. If you notice a sudden change in your kitchen sink, it could be something as simple as a clog in your aerator, but what that clog is is where the trouble starts. If you have galvanized steel pipes, a sudden low flow of water could be due to a mineral build up. A mineral build up will continue over time until there’s nothing left to do but replace the pipes. If you notice a change in your water flow, have a plumber assess the situation so you know how big the problem is and what steps need to be taken to address it.

Hidden leaks.

Hidden leaks can result in multiple forms of damage to your home and your health. From warped floors to mold, small drips over time add up to big issues. If you notice your floors are warped or discoloured at all, this could be the sign of a new hidden leak. Have a professional take a look and find the source of the leak. The sooner you catch it, the less damage there will be to resolve, and you’ll be able to keep that emergency savings fund intact.

Roofing

rotten roof house damage

Image courtesy of Atlas Roofing

Rotten roof.

How often do you think about the health of your roof? If you’ve never experienced a roofing issue before, it’s like you’ve not considered the possibility of one. Most of us spend very little, if any, amount of time on our roofs. This means that issues aren’t spotted until it’s too late and thousands of dollars of damage is already done.

You can catch roof problems ahead of time by doing a simple inspection and looking around your home for the warning signs of damage. Common signs of roof problems include loose or broken roofing materials, curled shingles, sagging roofing, loose flashing and depressions near pipes. 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.

It’s a good idea to set up an annual roofing inspection with a professional. A roofing professional will know exactly what they’re looking for and be able to spot any potential for problems before they happen. If you experience any severe weather like hail or ice storms, it’s a good idea to call an inspector to make sure nothing was effected during the storm.

While we can’t always be prepared for everything our homes throw at us, we can take preventative action. It’s important to know what’s normal in your house and what’s not, and to take the proper steps when something seems off. If you’re ever concerned with an issue in your home, it’s better to be safe now than sorry later. Hire a service professional who’s trained in their field and will be able to help you through any home issues.

Posted by Jessica Greaves