Never Ignore These 15 Signs of Hidden Danger in Your Home
It’s amazing how many little issues can spring up when you own a house. Just when you think you’re caught up on bills, inevitably something breaks or malfunctions and needs a replacement.
Some of these repairs — such as a broken dishwasher — are simply irritating. But there are certain issues in your home that are more than just minor annoyances. Some problems can be dangerous for your whole family and can lead to serious injury or death.
Ahead, discover the warning signs of huge problems in your home that you should never ignore.
1. Excess lint
Even if you’re great at clearing the removable lint screen in your dryer, there could still be the potential for a dryer fire.
If you notice your clothes are taking longer to dry than usual, it’s time to investigate the dryer vent line, which can get clogged with excess lint over time. The heat from the dryer combined with flammable lint makes this a huge fire hazard. Close to 3,000 house fires per year can be attributed to improperly functioning dryers.
Next: Bubbling paint
2. Bubbling paint
You might think bubbling paint points to moisture damage, but that’s only true some of the time. It could also mean a termite infestation.
Mud tubes, shredded wings that look like little fish scales, blisters in flooring, hollow sounding wood, or visibly damaged wood are all signs that termites have taken up residence. Never ignore these small signs, as termite activity often goes undetected for years and could completely destroy your home.
Next: Unexplained puddles
3. Unexplained puddles
Where there’s water, mold is sure to follow.
When you start noticing puddles in rooms with a lot of moisture, such as bathrooms, it’s a clear indicator there’s not enough ventilation. Left unchecked, you could develop a mold problem that will trigger allergies, asthma, or worse.
Add or replace your old exhaust fan to keep this from happening.
Next: Cracks in the foundation
4. Cracks in the foundation
One of the first signs of structural damage comes in the form of foundation cracks or deterioration. Pooling water can be another indicator, but it’s often hard to see because it could be happening below the surface.
To avoid this, be sure to clean your gutters and change downspouts every season and situate water drainage at least 6 feet away from the house. Regrading the soil may require the help of a professional.
Next: Tripping GFCI outlets
5. Tripping GFCI outlets
A ground-fault circuit-interrupter protects you from electrical shock by shutting off power to the circuit when there are ground faults or leakage currents. If you notice that the outlet keeps tripping, it may be time to replace your GFCIs to ensure your safety.
Next: Flickering lights
6. Flickering lights
Overloaded electrical circuits cause issues, such as blinking or flickering lights, blown fuses, buzzing receptacles, and discolored outlet covers. If you get a shock from touching any of your appliances or smell a faint burning odor, you need to call an electrician immediately. Ignoring these problems could cause house fires.
Next: Smoke detector beeps
7. Smoke detector beeps
The tragic episode of This Is Us should serve as a huge wake-up call to keep your smoke alarm functioning properly. More than half of all home fire deaths occur when the smoke detectors aren’t working.
When you hear that annoying beep from your smoke detector, resist the urge to take it down and hide it. Replace the batteries or the device immediately.
Next: Creosote buildup
8. Creosote buildup
The buildup of water and chemicals inside your fireplace can lead to chimney fires and house fires. If you have a working fireplace, it’s crucial to call in a professional at least once per year to clean and inspect your chimney, fireplace, and vent.
Next: Malfunctioning sump pump
9. Malfunctioning sump pump
Who wants a flooded basement? It’s important to periodically inspect your sump pump connections, make sure the float isn’t restricted, and clean the pump and vents. You can also make the small investment in a battery backup to ensure your sump pump will keep on chugging even if the power goes out.
Next: Uneven floors and doors
10. Uneven floors and doors
Foundational issues can also be found indoors. If you notice large gaps in your hardwood or your interiors doors don’t close smoothly anymore, it can be a sign of structural problems. Hire a licensed contractor to assess any cracks or gaps that exceed an eighth of an inch.
Next: Old outlets
11. Old outlets
If your old house has a mix of two-prong and three-prong outlets, it could mean that the electrical system was only half updated. An electrician can check out the status of your wiring and make sure it’s done correctly. Improperly installed wiring can lead to blown circuits or even house fires.
Next: Roof issues
12. Roof issues
The National Roofing Contractors Association recommends checking your roof for damage at least twice per year — once in the fall and once in the spring. Take note of bumps, dips, missing or broken shingles, and inspect the gutters. All these problems can lead to moisture issues in the home, such as mold, if they’re not dealt with.
Next: Leaky ducts
13. Leaky ducts
Look for cracks, rust, or leaking flue pipes from your boiler or furnace. These can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning if you’re not careful.
Next: Water damage
14. Water damage
Next time you’re cleaning underneath the sinks, do a little investigating. Unchecked leaks can eventually lead to structural damage and mold. It’s important to have the leaks checked out by a professional at the first sign of trouble. Water issues often go deeper than they first appear.
Next: Loud gurgles
15. Loud gurgles
A sewer backup can manifest as a gurgling toilet, and overloaded garbage disposals also make weird noises. If you notice sounds coming from your drains, it could be an early indicator of a big issue. Call the plumber before the situation turns dire.
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