From water damage cover-ups to dismissing small foundation cracks, homeowners may be trying to hide certain household issues. But a little routine maintenance can help prevent some situations from becoming bigger issues.
Home inspectors recently chimed in on Apartment Therapy with the most prevalent maintenance mistakes they see in properties all of the time, including:
1. Painting over water damage.
A fresh coat of paint can help work wonders in a property but it won’t fool a home inspector. John Mease, a home inspector in Atlanta, notices homeowners paint over water damage in a lot of properties he inspects. The most common areas he sees are surrounding a shower in a bathroom or on a ceiling. Water damage can be a sign of leaks. If rotted wood is behind the fresh coat of paint, the paint often will promote more rot and not fix it, home inspectors warn. Only once the leak is fixed should homeowners paint over the damage. Bob Vila recommends first cleaning the stain with bleach, apply a coat of stain-blocking primer, and then paint over it.
2. Failing to change the HVAC filter.
The longer homeowners go between changing their HVAC filters, the more stress they can put on their system. This can cause more debris to build up in the vents and ducts too, according to Cristina Miguelez of Fixr.com. Instead, homeowners should change their filters about once a month if they have pets or use their HVAC system every day. They can swap it out every three months in other scenarios, experts recommend.
3. Disregarding small foundation cracks.
Even a small crack in the foundation could prove problematic. “If a dime can fit into the crack, it could potentially lead to significant basement leaks,” Chuck Naish, founder of City Residential Foundation Center in Ottawa, Canada, told Apartment Therapy. He recommends homeowners fix any small foundation cracks—at least 1/8’’—with spray or waterproofing paint. For anything bigger or if any doubts, he recommends calling in a professional to take a look.