“Out of sight, out of mind.” In many areas of our lives, this maxim is true (and often beneficial!).
But not when it comes to the systems that run our homes.
Often, there are many non-visible cues that something in our home has gone awry. And while it may be tempting to ignore odd sounds and smells and hope they go away, to prevent expensive repairs and a potentially unsafe living environment, it’s beneficial to understand the red flags and act accordingly.
Here are five non-visible signs of home systems distress you should never ignore.
The Smell of Rotten Eggs
If you smell rotten eggs or sulfur, you might have a gas leak somewhere in your home. Signs of a gas leak also include a hissing or whistling sound close to a gas pipe, bubbles in water, a damaged gas pipe, and possibly even dead house plants.
If you notice any of these signs (and your oven’s burners haven’t been left on in error), exit the home immediately and ensure all family members and pets are at a safe distance from the property. Leave the doors open and call 911, the fire department, or the gas company to report a potential leak.
The Air Conditioner is Blowing Warm Air
When you notice this, you may conveniently write it off as your AC taking a well-deserved break.
The reality, though, is that the problem is not likely to resolve itself. And, in some cases, there could be something serious brewing.
First, you’ll want to check your thermostat to make sure it’s functioning properly. Then, replace your air filter so that air can easily flow to the unit.
If the problem persists, you may have an electrical problem, dirty condenser coils, or a refrigerant leak. At this point, you’ll want to hire an expert to diagnose and resolve issues properly to preserve your HVAC system and avoid wholesale replacement.
A Mysterious Dripping Sound
This is one you’ll likely fix quickly – not only because dripping sounds are annoying, but also because a leak could be a symptom of a larger problem with your faucets or plumbing.
Underlying issues, such as a corroded or damaged pipe, could lead to water damage and a hefty repair bill if not treated early.
Unless you’re a plumbing expert, it’s worth enlisting a professional to identify the source and root cause of the drip and remedy the situation before your valuables suffer water damage.
If you notice the smell of burning in your home, it could be due to several things:
- A plastic burning smell from the HVAC system could be caused by overheating or a worn-out fan.
- A smokey smell from a refrigerator might be due to electric wirings overheating.
- If your dishwasher emits a smoky smell, this might be caused by overloading or perhaps wooden or plastic kitchenware encountering the machine’s heating unit.
- Should your furnace start to smell as if it were burning dust, you may need to clean the air filter.
However, if you’re not sure where the smell is coming from, it’s always best to turn everything off and seek expert advice. Choosing to ignore this smell can be a serious mistake.
Banging Water Pipes
This is common in older properties, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.
Banging pipes are caused by the vibration when the plumbing system has a surge of pressure when the faucet is opened. The root causes of this loud and frustrating noise can cause significant damage to the pipework and may result in a leak if left to get worse.
Like you would with a constant drip, contact a professional to sort out the issue and have peace of mind knowing your pipes won’t soon burst.
An Ounce of Prevention…
While it may be more convenient to hope that odd smells and sounds in your home will just go away, the reality is that they’re often symptoms of a larger problem. Leaving issues like this as-is, and avoiding a small repair bill in the short term, can lead to much larger and more painful repairs in the long term.
By understanding the non-visible signs of home system distress, you’ll be able to take quick action, sidestep large repairs, and enjoy nothing but the sweet smell of homeownership success.