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15 Home Issues You Shouldn't Ignore

By: Karin Beuerlein

From pesky critters to peeling paint, don't put off dealing with these red-flag problems at home.

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Ants scurrying on countertops or mouse droppings in HVAC grilles are signs that you have openings in your house that need to be closed, says Steve Gladstone, owner of Stonehollow Fine Home Inspection in Stamford, Conn. Check places like exhaust vents, condensate lines, pipes, ducts, utility access panels and garage doors — you’re looking for obvious gaps, signs of chewing or nesting, or ripped screening. If you aren’t sure what you’re looking at or don’t feel confident you can solve the problem yourself, call a professional exterminator. Mouse and bird droppings in particular can be hazardous to your health. 

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You should expect to find mold occasionally in wet spots like the kitchen and bathroom, but when you see it someplace it shouldn’t be — like on the living room walls — call a professional for evaluation. You want an independent inspector certified by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene or the American Council for Accredited Certification. An inspector can tell you whether you can clean up the mold yourself or whether you need the services of a remediation company.

how to identify and remove mold in your home

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A Sagging, Buckling or Warped Floor

A sagging floor may just be the result of natural settling, says Steve Gladstone of Stonehollow Fine Home Inspection, but don’t assume it’s harmless without having a look in your basement or crawlspace. If the room is a bathroom or kitchen, a leaking toilet or sink may have caused water to seep in and rot the subfloor, which is a problem that must be fixed promptly. Or, if a structural support has been removed, bracing or more extensive repair may be needed. Call a home inspector or engineer for advice.

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Standing Water in the Yard

If water stands in your yard for hours or even days after a moderate rain, you have poor drainage, which can be caused by heavy, compacted soils or improper grading. If this occurs near your home’s foundation, it can lead to nasty moisture issues in your basement or crawlspace. Fortunately, a French drain or re-grading the property can usually solve this problem — learn how to install a French drain yourself here.

how to improve yard drainage

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