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13 Signs Your House is Failing

In Most Cases It Happens Silently, Slowly Over Time... But There is Something You Can Do!

Your home has a lot to say. Are you listening? It could be saying that parts of the home are failing – and you may not even be aware. A home won’t fail without warning, it will emit signs, and knowing what to look for can mean the difference between a simple repair and an expensive replacement.

Resideo examined common fail points among a home’s four critical networks that keep its inhabitants safe and comfortable: air network (ducts and vents), security network (doors and locks), energy network (outlets, appliance performance, or wiring and electricity that power a home), and the water network (copper or PVC pipes). If any one of these points is showing signs of failure in your home, seek the help of a professional to make a repair while it’s less costly and before a full failure occurs.

someone fixing ductwork

Air Network: Like a human body, your home needs to breathe in fresh air and exhale the used, stale air. Inside, your home’s air system helps filter the fresh air, circulate it and vent out stale air. Outside, the soffit vents (located on the underside of the eves) breathe in fresh air into the attic and then expels it through the roof vents at the top to help keep the home cooler in the summer and reduce attic moisture in the winter.

  1. Clogged soffits could mean the attic isn’t getting proper ventilation, which is critical to the health of the house. It begins with cleaning the soffits help to prevent moisture buildup and ultimately mold growth on your roof's framing. Pro Tip: If your home is surrounded by cottonwood trees, a call to an arborist may be in order.

  2. Dirty air return vents or stains on the carpet around the vent mean there are a lot of particles (or dust) inside your home and in the air you breathe. It’s time to change the furnace filter or have your ducts cleaned.

  3. Breakfast smells linger. If by dinner you’re still smelling the eggs and sausage you had for breakfast, your home may have poor ventilation and may not be ‘breathing’ properly. Call in a professional to have an analysis done.

  4. Inefficient furnace or AC. If you’re noticing that it takes a longer time to heat or cool your home, your furnace or the air conditioner either need a tune up or need to be replaced.
image of key being inserted into door lock

Security Network: Beyond your front door and locks, smoke and CO2 detectors help keep your home safe.

  1. Old keys. If you’ve not changed the locks on your door, consider upgrading to a smart lock – you never know how many people have a copy of your house key!

  2. Beep in the night. If the smoke or CO alarm you bought and installed yourself are beeping, chances are you just need to change the batteries. Professionally installed systems are hardwired, so you wouldn’t have to worry about this nuisance if you have a professionally monitored solution.
image of person kneeling on ground working on wall socket

Energy Network: According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2017 the average U.S. monthly energy bill was $111.67. Ensuring your home’s energy network is optimized, which includes using energy efficient appliances and lights, can help minimize those monthly expenses.

  1. Loose outlets. Over time, contact points within an outlet can wear out. If the outlet no longer tightly holds a plug you can try to straighten out any bent prongs, or call an electrician to help solve the issue. Loose fitting electrical sockets can be dangerous – and can even ignite a fire behind your walls.

  2. Old water heater. In general, a water heater will last about 10 years – if older than 10 years, failure is imminent. Have it serviced annually to flush the system and clean the pilot light and sensor so it continues to light when needed. This helps ensure you’ll have hot water when you need it.
Wet vacuum for water leak

Water Network: In most cases, the pipes and plumbing system in the home are behind closed walls or underground – so it’s harder to identify risk.

  1. The meter is running – as in your water meter. If it’s always running, and all of the water sources are shut off, you have a leak that could be costing you hundreds of dollars on your water bill.

  2. Damaged Plumbing. Examine the exposed pipes (either old copper pipes or new PVC pipes) in your basement for mold – mold indicates there can be a leak.

  3. Bulged washing machine hose. Examine the back of the washing machine to ensure the hose isn’t budged, kinked or has cracks in it. If it gets budged, the hose could break off, causing major flooding in your laundry room.

  4. Stains and mold are usually present when water is getting in a place where it’s not supposed to be. Mold can grow in any home given the right conditions. If mold is growing on an exterior wall, there could be a leak in the roof. Look for leaks from the attic and drainage from down spouts. Look for stains on the ceiling, the result of a leaky roof or ice dams, or around the bathroom fan, which means there is condensation gathering inside the duct. Don’t just paint over the stain – solve the root issue and call a plumber or contractor.

  5. The main line backs up each Spring. For homeowners living in neighborhoods with mature trees, it’s possible that tree roots can work themselves into the main line of a home – causing a blockage and potential flooding in the home. Either hire a plumber to clean the main line each year– or cut the tree down to avoid further damage.

Reach out to a professional if you see any of these issues:

Updated: 11/11/20