Certain home owner habits could actually be harming the home, and can lead to major home improvement projects later on. This Old House recently featured a list of several bad home owner habits to avoid, including:
Slamming the front door
Slamming the heavy front door can push it out of alignment. Eventually, the door may get really tough to open and even have a gap between the trim and jamb that could allow moisture and cold air to seep in.
Fix: Replace the existing hinges of the door with self-closing ones so that the door can softly close without slamming.
Never lifting up outdoor rugs.
Outdoor rugs with rubber or vinyl backings shouldn’t be left in place. They can trap water and lead to mold and mildew.
Fix: Select an open-weave rug that allows rainwater to evaporate and air to circulate. Also, rinse the rug with a hose occasionally and then hang it out to dry.
Failing to clean the gutters.
Fallen leaves, pine needles, branches, and even the neighbor’s tennis ball can end up clogging your gutter and prevent water from properly flowing through. Water could then either back up or dump along the foundation and seep into cracks and crevices.
Fix: Clean your gutters before the spring rains. Check them in the winter for any ice or snow damage. Consider mesh gutter guards to help prevent clogs.
Flushing “flushable wipes.”
Pre-moistened, flushable wipes may not be so good to flush down your toilet after all. Flushing them could cause a plumbing problem, according to This Old House. The nonwoven fabric from the wipes may collect with grease and other materials and lead to a clog.
Fix: Place a covered trash bin in the bathroom to dispose of the wipes instead. Stick to traditional toilet paper.
Shutting vents to try to push air to other rooms to cool or heat may end up doing more harm than good. You could cause “a pressure imbalance in the ducts that can make the furnace work harder or the cooling coil freeze over,” according to This Old House article.
Fix: An HVAC contractor can install branch dampers in the main areas of your ductwork to force cooler air to the second floor in the summer and warmer air to the ground floor in the winter.
Using too much drain cleaner.
Clog-dissolving liquids or crystals may help unclog a septic system. But too much of it may lead to less of the essential bacteria needed to break down the waste continually.
Fix: When you first get a clog, pour some boiling water in and flush. For more pesky clogs, try a mechanical cleaning with a closet auger snake – which according to the article is less damaging than drain-clearing chemicals. If you do use drain cleaner, use them sparingly.