Property Value Killing Mistakes You Might Be Making Inside Your Home
As a Waterloo Region homeowner, you want to ensure that you take the proper precautions and do whatever you can to avoid any serious—not to mention costly—damage to your house that will spoil your enjoyment of it now and potentially reduce its perceived - and sometimes even appraised - value to buyers should you plan to sell the home in the future.
And while that certainly includes being diligent about turning off lights and electrical appliances before you leave the house to eliminate the chance of a fire and not starting the dishwasher or washing machine if you're not going to be home while it's running, it's relatively rare that accidents like these occur. Instead, it's the mistakes you aren't even aware you're making that can lead to major repairs in the long run.
Over the next few posts were are going to take a closer look at what these mistakes are, starting today with mistakes you might be making inside your home that could be causing damage to your Waterloo Region home without you even realizing it.
Keeping Your Blinds Open All Day
Keeping your blinds open may make your home look bright and cheery, but doing so can also cause serious damage to your flooring if you're not careful. Harsh UV rays can cause premature fading of carpeting and discoloration to floors, especially hardwood flooring.
That doesn't mean you have to live in the dark, though, just make sure you've closed your blinds when you head out for the day or make use of gauzy curtain panels instead, as they will diffuse the damaging UV rays and yet still let the natural light in.
Not Taking Proper Care of Your Hard Surface Flooring
Technically, hard surface flooring like hardwood or laminate should be easier to take care of than carpeting, right? In many ways it is, but some of the most common ways people 'take care' of their hard surface flooring actually ends up damaging it.
Sweeping for example. What's wrong with breaking out the broom to clean up dirt on your hardwood floors? It can actually shorten their lifespan. If you're going to mop or sweep, make sure you vacuum first to prevent moving those little particles and abrasives—like sand—along the floor's surface, which can scratch or damage floors.
And speaking of mopping, go easy on the amounts of liquid you use. Water may be effective at getting your floors clean, but use too much, and you might find yourself in need of some replacement flooring before you know it. Excessive amounts of water on your hardwood or laminate floors can cause them to warp or stain. If you want to clean your wood floors, use the minimum amount of water possible.
Not Making Use of Furniture Pads on Hardwood Floors
If your home has hardwood flooring, those tiny furniture pads that protect the bottom of chair and table legs are a must. When your floors aren't being protected in this simple way, every time you push a chair back or move a piece of furniture an inch to the left, you run the risk of scratching them so severely that only refinishing will be able to repair the damage.
Not Watching Humidity Levels
Want to keep your hardwood or laminate floors looking brand new? The answer isn't some expensive cleaning product—it's a dehumidifier. If humidity hits above 55 percent, you are opening up a chance for moisture to seep into the wood, which can cause your flooring to swell and warp over time.
Shampooing Carpets the Wrong Way
If you do have carpeting in your home you probably know that they will benefit from the occasional carpet shampooing, and your warranty may even specify that you do so at least once a year. However, shampooing your carpets the wrong way can cause more harm than good.
While DIY carpet shampooing can seem like a great money saver, you should undertake the project with a lot of care. If you don't remove a sufficient amount of cleaning product and water from your carpets, you might unintentionally cause a mold problem to start growing.
To keep this from happening, remove as much moisture as possible with the carpet vacuum and open windows to help your carpets dry out if they still feel damp after a cleaning. Or just bite the proverbial bullet and have a professional clean your carpets instead.
Ignoring Other Damp Surfaces
Your carpets aren't the only part of your home that can become seriously damaged by dampness, however. If you see any kind of signs of water in your home - on the floors, the walls or the ceilings, that you are unclear of where it came from, investigate quickly, preferably with the help of a professional.
Not Drying Off Properly Before You Get Out of the Shower
It's reasonable to assume that drying off on a bath mat is the most effective way to rid your body of excess moisture after a shower. But doing so could actually be harming your house.
No matter what type of flooring you have in your bathroom, leaving it damp will reduce its lifespan and potentially lead to mold, and if you have linoleum, lead to staining and warping to boot. And even a good bathmat allows some moisture to remain on the floor. Getting into the habit of stepping out of the shower AFTER a good towelling off is an easy way to prevent all these potential problems.
Pouring Grease Down Your Kitchen Drain
Cleaning pans full of cooking oil or grease can be a pain, but you should never try to make clean up faster by pouring grease or oil down into your kitchen drain (or even a waste disposal)
Oil, fats, and grease will solidify and form blockages in your pipes, which not only has a negative impact on the environment, but also creates issues for your septic system. What kind of issues exactly? It could be as bad as an overflow of your plumbing, which is nasty, to say the least.
Not Using Your Stove's Vent Hood
If you're not using your stove's vent hood, you could be compromising the quality of the air in your home. Be sure to use a vented exhaust fan to remove cooking fumes and avoid moisture build-up and if possible crack open a window while you cook to allow for cross-ventilation, which will help to reduce moisture, smoke, and improve your indoor air quality.
Continuing to Use Faulty Appliances
That toaster that's always on the fritz and that microwave that cuts power halfway through heating your food aren't as innocuous as they might seem.
In fact, ignoring them may mean you're inadvertently damaging your whole home's electrical system. The resulting damage can range from a tiny bit of wear and tear on other appliances to a destructive electrical fire!
Putting Electrical Appliances Too Close to Your Thermostat
The placement of your appliances matters more than you might think. Since virtually all appliances emit some heat, if you place them too close to your thermostat, it can register the rise in temperature and respond accordingly, leading to higher cooling bills in the summer and a colder home in the winter.
Trying Too Many of Those Internet Cleaning Hacks
The Internet is full of cleaning hacks and suggestions for cutting down on the amount of chemicals you us when cleaning and caring for your home. We've written about some of them in the past, and some of them really do work very well. However, there are some caveats attached to the use of 'natural cleaners' that you should be aware of, including all the following:
Don't Use Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar Together
Hydrogen peroxide and vinegar clean effectively on their own, but mixing the two can cause serious damage to your home—and to your health. The mixture will create toxic peracetic acid that can change the color and texture of your soft surfaces, or even leave them with visible chemical burns. Worse yet, the acid can cause you respiratory problems or skin irritation.
Don't Use Vinegar in Your Dishwasher
Vinegar may be effective at cleaning some surfaces, but it's a major no-no for your dishwasher. Vinegar's acidity can be hard on some of the essential rubber parts of your dishwasher, eventually causing your appliance to fail far more quickly than it shoould have done.
Don't Use Vinegar on Granite Counters
It's time to step away from the vinegar-based cleaners if you want those gorgeous granite counters to look great for years to come. Any type of acidic cleaner like vinegar removes the sealant and gradually reduces the sheen of these countertops over time. These cleaners can even erode the stone underneath, leaving you to foot the bill for a pricey replacement.
Don't Use Lemon Juice on Marble
Consider lemon-based products and your marble counters mortal enemies if you want to keep the latter in tip-top shape. Lemons contain a high amount of citric acid, so when lemon juice touches marble countertops, it quickly starts to eat away at the surface, which given how pricey marble is, is a very bad thing indeed.
Failing to Properly Insulate Your Attic
While your attic may only serve as storage space, if you're leaving it uninsulated, you're causing damage to your home and to your wallet. According to Energy Star, 25 percent of a home's heat can be lost through an uninsulated attic. So every year you fail to insulate, you're not only increasing your risk of burst pipes and other weather-related damage, but also increasing your energy bills.
Failing to Properly Insulate Your Indoor Pipes
Those exposed pipes in your freezing cold basement deserve some insulation—and if you don't cover them, you could be putting your home at risk for some serious damage. Any plumbing that goes through unheated parts of your home or is exposed to the outdoors is liable to freeze and possibly burst.
And speaking of pipes, as tempting as it may be, you can't replace that leaky section of pipe with any old material. Some types of plastic can't handle hot water, and there are other materials you shouldn't match. For example, copper connectors on galvanized metal pipes causes electrolysis, a common source of pipe corrosion and leaks. This is one of the (many) reasons that these kinds of plumbing jobs are best left to the pros.
By the way, stay tuned, as we'll be back soon to discuss the mistakes you might be making OUTSIDE your home that are damaging it too.