16 April 2017

When Things Go Wrong - Coping with Horrors in the Home

Life as a homeowner is meant to offer you freedom, security, and stability. If you invest well in your property, it may even offer you financial benefits, too. But sometimes things go wrong, and the house you call home no longer protects you in the way you need it to. It becomes a drain on your financial resources and can become a money pit. Is there a way to prevent things going wrong in your home?

Maintenance is essential for any property. Sure, the old decor may now be categorized as retro or shabby chic. It may be endearing and even attractive to some buyers. The trouble is, if the decor hasn’t been updated in decades, chances are nothing else is quite up to current standards, either. This could be cause for concern, and at the very least should be checked out. Start with a top-to-bottom assessment of your home to see what might need some attention.

If a storm has come in recently, then you need to go outside of your property and check that the roof hasn’t been damaged. Guttering can come loose when it is overwhelmed by water, so make sure that is still intact. Signs that it is broken include damp patches on your render or brickwork. If you have antennae or satellite dishes on or around your home, these can easily be damaged in severe weather. Are your boundaries fully secure? Strong winds can blow down fence panels. No problems outside? Time to head up to the attic.

Large patches of daylight indicate a slate or roof tile is looser than it should be. A roofer should be able to help. If anything smells particularly unpleasant up there, it could be a good idea to check for droppings from rodents or other animals. Insects can also get in and nest. While none of these may bother your living accommodation, they can cause structural damage over time, allowing water to get in. If they die in your home, they will decompose! Getting pests under control is essential. Call out the professionals as soon as you suspect that they are there.

As well as damage caused by storms and unwanted pests, your roof is prone to wear and tear as much as any other part of your house. Depending on the type of roof you have a limited lifespan of approximately thirty years is all you can rely on. After this time, you should invest in regular checks and maintenance or consider a fresh roof.

The next thing to check is the ceiling and corners of the walls. Mold and mildew are more harmful to your family than you may think. After all, nobody wants to be breathing in those spores! If you spot some damp or rot in these areas, start by checking where it might be coming from. Are water pipes running nearby? Is the roof leaking? Dampness can penetrate brickwork if the guttering is not doing its job. This will lead to mold stains on the interior as well as wet bricks outside. There are special bleaches and other pesticides that can be used to clean this up, but you must stop the source of the water.

Of course, some rooms are naturally more humid than others. The kitchen is the source of a lot of temperature fluctuations and steam from cooking. So is the bathroom. Both these rooms need to be painted or decorated every few years with special paint designed for the extra moisture. You can measure the humidity of the room with a hygrometer that can be purchased cheaply online. Untreated natural wood can easily be damaged in high humidity settings. Signs of a problem can appear in wooden flooring, kick boards, and wall paneling.

Flooding has occurred in many places over the last decade. It can be truly devastating to whole communities. If your house is flooded by a storm surge, chances are there are some nasty things lurking in the water. It is important you use a specialist cleaning company to deal with the bacteria and other harmful things that could have entered your home. Your insurance company is likely to be able to provide the details for one. It can take time to fully dry out before the living areas are safe for your family and hygienic for cooking in.

Floods from burst water pipes are rarely as problematic. Once you have dried everything, you should be able to check it out yourself. Be wary of electrical circuits, though. Many electrical items will be permanently damaged. Your house wiring could also need to be replaced. Check with a qualified electrician.

Burglary and vandalism in your home are emotionally devastating. Aside from the damage to your property, the impact on your family can be far reaching. It’s difficult to step back and see that it was probably just high school kids that were bored. It feels personal. It feels like a physical violation. Without counseling, it can be very hard to overcome something like this. Actions to prevent the loss of personal items include:

+ Updating your locks
+ Installing alarms and security systems
+ Using a home safe for your most treasured possessions

If your door has been forced or your window is smashed then the first thing you should do is to ensure your property is secured again. When you’re upset, it can feel like a daunting task, so ask a professional locksmith to take over. Clear up anything that could be hazardous to your family or pets like broken glass or spilled paints.

Fortunately, home disasters are quite rare. Many people go through life with no problems. If you check your home regularly and keep on top of maintenance, chances are you’ll catch any issues in time. Even if an unforeseen incident occurs, you can have a plan of action to make sure you and your family are kept safe and well. Make sure your insurance policy is up to date and replace old services and systems like furnaces that are no longer up to today’s standards. Care for your home, and it will take care of your family for decades.

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