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The Most Common Home Repairs: Costs You Should Prepare For

Four in 10 homeowners have experienced costly damage to their home, according to a new survey by Owens Corning Roofing. We'll lay out the 10 most common home repairs, the costs you should prepare for, and how you can manage all of these issues yourself.

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homeowners home repair ceiling leakAndrey_Popov/Shutterstock

The Costly Issue with the Ignorance is Bliss Approach

Did you know that 56 percent of homeowners admit to taking an “ignorance is bliss” approach to home repairs and changing weather? Research commissioned by Owens Corning Roofing and conducted by OnePoll found that the average cost per year for those who experience weather-related damage is $3,497. On average, the homeowners surveyed have lived in their current house for eight years, which means repair costs could add up to nearly $30K. If these issues are left unchecked many home repair costs can really add up.

Additionally, this research also found that of the 87 percent of homeowners who have experienced an issue, they currently have an average of three issues. The top issues respondents have faced in their homes include pests (such as mice/rats, termites and carpenter ants), drafty doors/windows and leaky roofs. We’ll show you how to manage all of these issues yourself, so you can save on major repair costs and be one of the best homeowners out there.

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A. Pomidorov/Shutterstock

Mice and Rats

35 percent of homeowners deal with this issue. 

Mice are the most common fur-covered pests that invade our homes (often when the weather starts turning cool). They really don’t mean any harm, but they can cause a lot of costly damage. We’ll tell you how to keep your home from becoming a varmint’s dream house.

When rats show up, it’s bad news, since they can carry fleas and disease. You can trap them with a snap trap for rats (like a mousetrap, but much bigger). Watch that snap. It could break your finger! And dispose of dead rats carefully. Wear plastic gloves, watch out for escaping fleas, and put the body in the garbage inside two zipper-top plastic bags.

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34 percent of homeowners deal with this issue.

Termites are active all year-round, so there’s no bad time to start preparing your defenses against these wood-chewing pests. Several times a year, take a slow walk around your foundation and look for any signs of damage so you can formulate a termite treatment plan. No, termites don’t eat concrete, but they do create mud tubes, which are a sign termites are trying to scale up your foundation in search of siding or other tasty wood.

There are many highly effective DIY termite control steps that homeowners can take to guard their homes. Here is what you need to know.

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carpenter ants

Carpenter Ants

33 percent of homeowners deal with this issue.

Sometimes the solution to an ant problem is getting rid of their nest. If you’re dealing with carpenter ants, which can do structural damage to your house, it’s vital that you wipe them out ASAP. Finding the nest may not be easy and takes some detective work. Ants generally prefer damp areas, such as framing or flooring that’s soft and spongy from a plumbing or roof leak. How to get rid of ants begins by looking for areas with water damage. Attics, bathrooms and exterior walls are obvious candidates.

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Dealing with Drafty Doors and Windows

28 percent of homeowners deal with this issue.

Stop that cold draft coming in around windows and doors by removing the trim and sealing the airflow permanently. It takes a little work, but you’ll save energy and money all year long.

When cold weather arrives, hold the back of your hand near the edges of windows or doors to track down the source of leaks. If you feel cold air flowing out from behind the trim, chances are the spaces around the window and door jambs weren’t properly sealed. Here’s how to seal doors and windows.

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shutterstock_49112053 leaky roof replace shingles repair home inspectionARENA Creative/Shutterstock

Leaky roofs

25 percent of homeowners deal with this issue.

If you have water stains that extend across ceilings or run down walls, the cause is probably a leaky roof. Tracking down the leak is the hard part; the roof leak repair is usually pretty easy. You can stop leaks yourself-no experience necessary. We show you how to track down and fix the most common types of roof leaks. Most leaks take only minutes to repair.

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wet basement floodingcunaplus/Shutterstock

Flooded basement

25 percent of homeowners deal with this issue. 

Water in your basement? Don’t call the basement waterproofing company yet. According experts, many basement leaks can be cured with a weekend’s work and a few hundred dollars’ worth of dirt and plastic. A huge percentage of wet basements can be remedied by simply regrading the landscape, and adding or upgrading gutters and downspouts. Here are 4 steps to fixing a leaky basement.

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SquirrelsWarren Price Photography/Shutterstock

Other Animal Infestations

23 percent of homeowners deal with this issue. 

These critters didn’t sign a lease and could be living rent-free and wreaking havoc in your home. Perhaps it’s the fluffy tail or their crazy shenanigans, but squirrels are kind of cute when they’re scampering in the yard. They’re downright annoying in your attic, however. You’ll hear plenty of commotion like rustling in the walls and ceiling—it’s more noticeable than smaller vermin like rats. They also do this chirping bark noise when they’re agitated, nervous, or threatened. Once you get the courage to inspect the noise, you may notice nuts, seeds, and other food piles up there. The biggest tell is whole sections of fallen or missing insulation. Seal up entry points and use live traps to evict them—or call a pest-control company.

Here’s how to spot them and evict animal infestations. Check out these tips for controlling pests in and around hour home.

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fix air conditionerJP WALLET/Shutterstock

Faulty air conditioning

21 percent of homeowners deal with this issue. 

Central home air conditioner service systems consist of two major components: a condensing unit that sits outside your house, and the evaporator coil (often referred to as an A-coil) that sits in the plenum of your furnace or air handler.

When central air conditioning service fails during a heat spell, you may have to wait days for an HVAC repair technician or an ac contractor to show up, and you’ll probably pay at least several hundred for the repair. But if you’re comfortable working around electricity and are willing to spend about $50 on parts, you can repair your air conditioning service yourself in about two hours and save about $225 on parts markup and labor.

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faulty burned wireMarkik/Shutterstock

Faulty wiring

20 percent of homeowners deal with this issue. 

It’s probably no surprise that the smell of something burning should be an immediate warning sign! If the wiring in your electrical system is heating up enough to melt its plastic sheathing, then you’re facing an imminent risk of fire, and you need to take immediate action. Try to identify the source of the issue—whether it’s limited to one fixture or is a problem at the breaker box—and get it resolved quickly. Family Handyman has troubleshooting guides for everything from outlets to lamps that aren’t functioning properly. But if you’re not completely comfortable with a DIY fix, reach out to a pro ASAP!

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cleaning up burst pipe waterMonkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Burst Pipes

20 percent of homeowners deal with this issue. 

When water freezes, it expands in volume by about 9 percent. And it expands with tremendous force: The pressure inside pipes may go from 40 pounds per square inch to 40,000 psi! No pipe can hold that much pressure, so it breaks open. The break may occur where the ice forms, but more often, it occurs where water pressure finds a weak spot in the pipe. That may be inches or even feet from the frozen area. You might also need to shut off the electricity as well, depending on where the leaks occurs and how big it is.

A burst pipe is the last thing anyone wants to tackle. But there are some quick temporary fixes you can do to slow the impact of a burst pipe.