Laziness strikes every homeowner at some point or another. You hear the steady drip-drip-drip of a leaky faucet and decide that’s a problem for another day, or you can feel the cold air blowing into your home from a drafty window, and you throw on another blanket and ignore the problem. While it might feel good in the moment to avoid your homeownership responsibilities, the truth is that putting off these relatively quick fixes will cost you an absurd amount of time and money in the long run.
Don’t believe me? Here are some of the ways small maintenance issues can evolve into major problems if you aren’t careful.
A Leaky Sink
The worst thing about living with a leaky sink is just how quick, easy and inexpensive the fix is. Whenever one of my sinks starts dripping, I call a local Riverside faucet repair service, who is in and out of my house in under 10 minutes.
However, the longer you let the drip in your sink go, the worse it will get for you. First, all that water is going to waste, which is as bad for the environment as it is bad for you. A faucet can leak upwards of 20 gallons of water every day, and you better believe that is going to make an impact on your water bill. Secondly, the constant moisture in your sink is likely to encourage the growth of mildew and mold, which could stain your sink and tile (at best) or cause deadly health problems (at worst). It might not seem major, but a leaky sink needs fixing fast.
A Buzzing Outlet
Your home’s electrical system is something you shouldn’t have to think about — unless something is going strange. Any sound or spark emerging from any end component of your electrical system, which includes both outlets and switches as well as hardwired lights or electronics, is a sign that a component of the box isn’t as it should be. It could be that something is loose and needs to be tightened, or it could be that the fixture has gotten old and gone bad.
When left alone, that buzzing will become louder, and the outlet or switch might stop working — but that’s not the worse outcome. The bad component could cause electricity to arc. If the arc touches something flammable, your house will catch on fire endangering everyone and everything inside. However, the arc could also connect to a living thing nearby, such as you, a pet or a loved one, seriously injuring or killing them. It’s well worth your time and money to get that buzzing sound investigated by a qualified electrician, stat.
A Dirty Refrigerator
Anything that comes into contact with food should be kept immaculately clean, but you might not know how to clean your fridge and freezer as thoroughly as they need to function well and keep your food safe. A wipe-down every once in a while is good, but you also need to pull your unit out to vacuum and scrub underneath and behind. This is because you need to be sure the appliance’s condenser coils are kept free of debris, which could force the unit to work harder, thus reducing its lifespan. The same is true of all that ice that builds up on the inside of your freezer; it’s stopping the unit from cooling effectively, so you need to defrost on a regular basis. You can either spend an hour every six months cleaning your freezer, or you can shell out $3,000 for a new fridge in a couple years — it’s your choice.
A Sticking Door
If you have to throw all your weight into the handle to shove open a door — sliding or swinging — something is terribly amiss. By continuing to use a sticking door, you risk harming yourself (by pulling a muscle or throwing out your back), harming the door (by breaking the handle, the frame or some other component) or creating a permanently stuck door. In all cases, you’ll have to shell out a significant sum for a fix.
When sticking happens to sliding glass doors, the most common issue is that some type of debris is trapped on the track and jamming the wheels. It’s easy enough to clean the tracks with a vacuum and/or scrub brush. In typical swinging doors, sticking is caused by any number of issues, to include swollen wood from high-humidity or misaligned hinges. However, sticking doors and windows could be a sign of foundation problems, and the sooner you get that issue checked out, the better.
Most problems around the home don’t fix themselves; in fact, most get worse over time. As a homeowner, you simply can’t afford to be lazy, especially with these four fortune-busting home maintenance problems.