Some home repairs and maintenance issues can afford to wait while you figure out the source of the problem and hire someone to fix it. For example, one of your bedroom doors may not close properly; this isn’t an indispensable feature of your home and doesn’t present a major health risk, so it’s a low-priority issue.
Other home repairs don’t afford you the same luxury. You’ll need to act immediately if possible, addressing the repair quickly to prevent any further damage.
When Is a Home Repair an Emergency?
What, exactly, qualifies a home repair as an emergency that requires immediate action?
- Imminent danger or health risks. Sometimes, a home issue poses an imminent danger or health risk. If the problem gets worse, it could endanger you and your family members.
- Potential for further damage. Other times, the issue in question has the potential to do additional damage. Instead of committing a single repair, you may end up repairing many different areas of your home.
- Vital home elements. You could also face damage to or the failure of vital home elements that keep your home livable. If these components no longer work, it could jeopardize the safety, security, or functionality of your home.
Home Repairs to Correct Immediately
These are some of the most important home repairs to address immediately:
- A leaking roof (or other bad roof problems). If you notice that your roof is leaking, or if you have other roofing problems, it’s important to contact a roofing contractor as soon as possible. Even a small bit of obvious leaking or damage could be a sign that something more serious is going on; for example, a trickle of a leak in your attic could be a warning sign that the entire roof is deteriorating and needs replaced. If you don’t take action, the excess moisture can cause sagging and rot; it can even get into your walls and the interior of your home, resulting in thousands of dollars of additional damage.
- A fire. You probably don’t need an article to tell you that a fire is a serious home threat that requires an immediate response. Ideally, you’ll have a fire extinguisher on hand to take care of small fires immediately. Grease fires in the kitchen can sometimes be snuffed out with a pot lid (never water). If the fire is beyond your control, evacuate the house and call emergency services.
- Burst or broken pipes. Homeowners in areas with cold winters often have to deal with frozen or burst pipes. In a worst-case scenario, the damaged pipe could spring a leak, spraying the interior of your home with water and causing far more damage. Turn off the water main and call a plumber to address this.
- Furnace issues. If a furnace goes out in winter, it constitutes an emergency. Air conditioning unit problems, by contrast, aren’t as much of a health concern. If your furnace stops working, and if you can’t solve the problem by yourself, get a technician out to make the repair – even if it’s not currently that cold.
- Damaged windows. Broken glass can cause a lot of damage. Aside from that, any obvious opening to your home could be easily exploited by burglars and home invaders. Get them repaired as soon as possible.
- A toilet that won’t stop running. Toilets that won’t stop running will overflow, resulting in unnecessary additional damage. Turn off the local water supply and contact a plumber for further assistance.
- Infestations. Ants, mice, and other animal invaders may seem somewhat innocuous, but they can cause major health problems for you and your family if not properly controlled. Try to take care of the problem immediately with traps – but don’t hesitate to call an exterminator if your first-line solutions don’t work.
- A leaking water heater. Sometimes, a leaking water heater is an innocuous problem. There might be a loose valve that needs to be closed or replaced; it could also be simple condensation. However, leaking water heaters could also be a sign of something far more serious. If the pressure in your water heater is too high, or if there’s a serious problem with its core functionality, it could pose an immediate threat to you and your family. Call a plumber immediately to handle the problem.
If you encounter any of these problems, take immediate action. Depending on the situation, that could involve calling an emergency number, shutting off water or electricity to your home, or even evacuating the home. More commonly, it involves contacting local contractors in your area for emergency service. In any case, you’ll need to act quickly if you want to stay safe – and prevent any further unnecessary damage.