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Expert Advice: 12 Things Every Homeowner Needs To Know

10/12/2015 12:00 EDT | Updated 10/30/2015 02:59 EDT
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Owning a home is a joy. It's your own space, you can decorate however you want and, best of all, there’s no more rent. But when something goes wrong — oh, and it will — you can't just call your landlord to fix it.

Whether you've got a brand-new home, have owned one for years, or just bought a new place in an old building, these tips cover every aspect of upkeep, from what to check in on to quirks to watch out for.

Get an inspection

You might find yourself in a bidding war given the white-hot housing market in many Canadian cities, but don't forgo a home inspection. That act can save you thousands of dollars in home repairs whether it's a new or old home.

Know all the DIYs

Some people fancy themselves handy but that can lead to wiring mistakes (aka fire hazards) and plumbing snafus leaving you stuck with leaks or clogs. Before you buy a house, try to get a list of renovations that were done, and who they were done by. This can prevent unpleasant surprises and expenses later on.

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The roof

Roofs cost money so start at the top. If the roof of your home is damaged, it can lead to considerable damage inside your home depending on the size of the leak. So before you buy, have the home inspector check the roof condition, especially if your prospective place is old. Fixing a leaky roof could cost you thousands.

The foundation

Always check the foundation of the house for cracks. Not all cracks are bad cracks but some could lead to thousands of dollars in repairs. Canadian Home Workshop recommends checking cracks for bulges. If the crack bulges out more than half a centimetre or creates a ledge, then it's time to talk to an expert about foundation repairs.

Asbestos

Asbestos is a health hazard and has been found to cause a cancer called mesothelioma. It was also once used as home insulation. If you're buying an older home, check for asbestos and if you still ecide to buy, hire an expert to safely remove it.

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Knob and tube wiring

Knob and tube wiring can be present in older homes and can raise issues with securing home insurance. The reason, says real estate agent Sandy Rinomato for HGTV, is that this older form of wiring can be a fire hazard.

Check your roots

Not hair roots but the roots of trees. Depending on the age and size of the tree, the roots may have grown through drains and created blockages. You can ask the city for the location of drains and block the roots from getting into the sewers. Regular cleaning will also prevent drains from clogging.

Mould

A small leak can lead to a big mould problem and that could become a health hazard. If there was a leak anywhere in the house, check for mould. It can grow on walls, fabric, or wood.

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Heating

Old houses can be an energy suck and can run up your hydro bill and hurt the environment. Make your home more efficient by upgrading to energy efficient appliances, plugging leaks, and using a programmable thermostat.

Windows

If you've got an older home, you might be wondering why your house is so cold. It could be gaps around the windows and doors are allowing outside air in. You can check for drafts with a draft detector and then seal them with caulking.

Check the water heater

Nothing is worse that the heater breaking in the depth of winter. A heater's average lifespan is 8-12 years so if the heater is near that time, check for corrosion and leaks. If the heater shows signs of damage, then it's time to replace it.

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The driveway

Canadian weather can do a great deal of damage to driveways, causing them to crack and cause tripping hazards. Check for tiny cracks and get them filled. If the driveway hasn't been sealed in a few years, get the name of a reputable expert and book an appointment.

For more information on how to keep your home working in perfect harmony, check out Enercare here.