The first few weeks of home ownership can be stressful. As you familiarize yourself with the various systems in the house, you may become aware of problems that weren’t obvious when the purchase of the home was finalized.
Many new homes come with a home warranty to protect new homeowners from financial liability when a system breaks down, but you have to know the warning signs of a problem.
Septic tanks are susceptible to clogs and overflow. These problems often occur when a septic system is not pumped at regular intervals. Many homeowners must pump their septic system every two to three years, or as often as is recommended by their septic tank pumping professional. Here are the signs you should watch for:
- Drain pipes make strange gurgling noises
- Strange, unpleasant odors (like sewage) in the yard
- Slow drains, especially in the lowest drains of the house
If your septic system is showing signs of an overflow, seek help from a qualified professional as soon as possible.
Many years ago, homes needed less electrical service than they need now. Using 60 Amp electrical service was common in the middle of the 20th century. Today, many households need 100 to 200 Amps of service. This Increased demand on older systems can cause circuit overloads and other problems. Electrical problems can be dangerous, so watch for these issues:
- Circuits trip frequently
- Corrosion and rust on the electrical box
- Soot on or above electrical outlets
- Electrical outlet covers get warm as they are used
- Lights flicker on and off or dim when appliances are turned on
If your home has any of these problems, contact an electrician.
Plumbing leaks can lead to wet rot, dry rot, pest invasion, mold, and other problems. Plumbing leaks are especially common in homes with older, deteriorating pipes. If your home has galvanized piping, inspect your property regularly and watch for these signs:
- Water damage beneath sinks
- Stains on the walls or ceiling, especially in areas around the kitchen or bathroom
- Mold on the walls
- Musty smell of unidentified origin
- Sounds of running water when no water has been turned on
If you suspect that your plumbing system is leaking and you’re not sure how to tell, turn off all water-consuming fixtures and appliances, then watch the water meter for movement. If the water meter changes in the next half hour, this is a sign you have a leak. Contact a plumber as soon as possible.
Your home’s HVAC system includes the heat and air conditioner. HVAC systems do best when they get regular tune ups from an HVAC professional. Your home’s HVAC system also needs to have the air filter changed periodically. If these things didn’t happen under the previous owners, your HVAC system may run inefficiently or may be prone to breakdowns.
Signs that the HVAC system is in trouble includes:
- You can turn on the air conditioner or the heater, but the air it blows is normal room temperature.
- You can’t turn on the air conditioner or heater at all.
- You notice an unusual odor or strange noises when the HVAC system turns on.
If you notice any of these signs, contact a professional before the temperature outside becomes uncomfortable.
Contact Your Home Warranty Company
If you have concerns about your home’s major systems, contact your home warranty company to find out which systems are protected by your policy.
Many policies expire fairly quickly after the time of purchase, so contact your home warranty company as soon as possible. Your home warranty company can help you get into contact with the professionals who can fix systems like your plumbing, electrical, and septic tank.
For more information about taking care of your new home and signs of damage to the various systems, contact America’s Preferred Home Warranty. We’ll be happy to answer your questions.