3 Times You Wish You’d Taken Better Care of Your Home

Life is full of little surprises, some delightful, others…not so much. Sometimes challenging situations happen despite our best efforts. They can come out of nowhere, and —often— there’s no preventing them. A flat tire on the way to daycare. Spaghetti sauce on a white shirt.

A lot of really un-fun situations can also arise when you neglect the maintenance on your home. The thing to remember is that, unlike the examples above these minor home disasters can be prevented. Entirely. Through established, well-known maintenance practices. With that said, here are a few times you probably wished you’d taken better care of your home:

#1. The frigid morning shower

The morning routine helps set the stage for the day. A good cup of coffee, crisp, clean work duds ready and waiting, sunlight streaming in the window, and a steamy shower. But wait; where’s the steam? Without hot water your shower becomes an arctic echo chamber that you can’t escape fast enough.  This could put a serious crimp in your joie de vivre.

The part that is especially hard to take is the fact that water heaters are relatively easy to keep in good working order. On average, they last 10 to 15 years, and only require attention once a year. The tank should be drained and flushed annually to clear mineral buildup and check for leaks.

Without this annual check your water heater can fail without warning, and you’ll be left shivering, full of regret, and looking at $800-$1000+ for a replacement.

#2. Surf’s up

Our next tale of woe could begin in your laundry room, and the way your luck seems to be running it will happen at approximately 2:30 am on a Monday.  You might waken from a deep sleep and lie peacefully for a few minutes, relishing the quiet and comfort of your bed.

Then you become aware of an unfamiliar sound. Is that… water running? Is someone taking shower? Is the toilet running? Now fully awake, you follow the sound to the business end of the house –the family room, the kitchen, the – All progress stops when your unsuspecting bare feet are suddenly sloshing through several inches of water.

You get the idea. Let’s skip the gory details and just say that a cracked water supply line on your washer can cause tremendous damage, and the washer doesn’t have to be operating for this to happen.

The water supply lines that run from the shut-off valves (wall connections) to your washing machine are always under pressure, meaning you turn the washer on and water immediately jets out. Those supply lines are typically made of PVC or rubber. Now here’s the rub (pun intended)—rubber and PVC degrades and overtime can crack, rot, and rupture, causing a pressurized geyser of water that will run and run until the valve is shut off. So if you’re out –or asleep- the water damage can be extensive.

Prevention? Regular inspection of the line. Cost of a new line? $10-$50.

#3. Dammed gutters

It seems that we have a theme here: water-related disasters. It’s true that water and moisture can cause a lot of damage if they get into places they don’t belong.  One of those places is your roof. If leaks and moisture go undetected, the damage to your home’s roof can be extensive, and it can progress to affect walls, flooring, and foundation as well.

The culprit can often be those unassuming gutters that edge your roof. They carry rainwater safely off the roof and away from the house to prevent water damage. Except when they don’t.

Gutters collect a lot more than water from the roof. Leaves, sticks, pine cones, dead birds, and bits of deteriorating shingles can all contribute to clogging up the gutters and stopping the flow of water. When the water backs up, it has to go somewhere, so it soaks into any surrounding materials. It can slide up under your shingles and begin to seep into the interior of your roof, eventually moving into walls and ceilings. This can cause mold to grow and materials to rot.

Meanwhile, some water will probably spill over the sides of clogged gutters, landing right next to the house and seeping into the foundation. Moisture there can cause cracks, and –well that is not something you want. Foundation work easily runs into the thousands of dollars.

Water can make a very quiet entrance in this case, and unless you check periodically, you may not detect a problem until serious damage has occurred.  This whole nightmare scenario can be avoided with regular maintenance.

Gutters should be cleaned and checked twice a year –more often if you have a lot of trees close to the house. Get a steady ladder and a garden trowel, and scoop out the accumulated debris. Then use a hose to rinse the troughs clean and check that the downspouts are clear as well.  That’s it. Well-maintained gutters protect your home from the elements.

Avoiding Little Surprises

While you can’t avoid all of the little surprises that life has in store, there are some that you can prevent entirely with regular maintenance. Save yourself some face-palm moments by sticking to a home maintenance schedule. A service like Glasshouse, which provides complete management of all your home maintenance needs, can be the perfect solution. Protect your budget from a big repair bill with a professional preventative maintenance program. Learn more at Glasshouse.com today!

For more information on the real costs of home maintenance, download this free whitepaper.

(This article originally appeared on Home Business Magazine)