Saturday, 14 October 2023 04:49

‘We were clueless’: 24 times people damaged their home because they didn't know how to take care of it

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As if buying a home isn't hard enough, there can be a pretty steep learning curve once you start actually living in it. Recently, u/Cheirogaleidae asked people on Reddit to share ways people have damaged their homes through sheer ignorance, and the replies are pretty wild. Here's what they had to say:

1. "Not paying attention to wooden things that need periodic painting. Porch posts, door trim, fences, etc. If you don't keep up with it, it rots. Then you have to replace porch posts, door trim, fences, etc. I had no idea until things rotted."

"My wood deck rotted when I didn't keep up with paint/stain. Once I rebuilt it, I painted the banisters and railings and stained/sealed the floor boards. Repeat every three years or so.

Unprotected wood rots. Even pressure treated."


2. "Flushing 'flushable' wipes."


3. "I was a new homeowner at 26. I grilled too close to the plastic siding of my house and warped it."


"I’ve seen people catch their house on fire doing this because they don’t ever clean their gas grill and they are too close to their wood siding. Don’t put your grill against the house, ever."


"My friends lit their roof on fire doing this exact thing."


4. "Brick is meant to breathe. Painting it can trap moisture inside your walls."


"Stopping up the weep holes is also bad. I had to explain that those openings in our walls were put there deliberately; no, we will not be mortaring them."


5. "Husband’s coworker hired someone to remove a tree from his backyard. They quoted him $600 to do it. Dude was not insured or licensed. Near as we can tell, it was just a dude who owned a chainsaw."

"The tree fell on the house, damaged part of the roof, siding, and took out the electricity. His insurance wouldn’t cover it because the dude who did it was just a dude. Took four days to get the electricity fixed. The dude who took down the tree 'felt really bad' about the damage he caused, so is going to fix it all himself.

Husband’s coworker had owned the house less than a month."


6. "Forgot to take a hose off of the spigot before the first freeze of winter."


"Oh yeah. My husband did that and we got a surprise waterfall in our basement the next year when he turned the hose on."


7. "Furnace filters. Replace them more often than you think you need. Don’t run ultra high MERV ratings. You need airflow over your indoor coil for the system to work well."


"Just bought a house that had renters for over three years. They had not changed the furnace filter since moving in. It was BAD. The worst I've seen, and I'm not sure how the AC or furnace were still operational. I immediately called in a duct cleaner, who sucked out a very large carton of dirt and hair and bugs and drywall dust, and told me this was worse than the average house he sees. He even opened the furnace and air handler in my crawl space and cleaned it out with a shop vac.

I've now got a Merv 8 carbon filter in there, and peace of mind that most of the funk the gross renters oozed into the ducts is gone. The house smells better now."


8. "I was this dummy. My toilet started running. Intermittently at first but then more frequently. I kept putting it off. Then I had three major surgeries back to back and put off looking at the bills until they were due at the end of the month. My water bill was somewhere around $550 dollars. It is normally $50!"

"Then, because I'd put off looking at it until the end of the month and the water bill invoices for the month before that, I hadn't caught it in time. So when the next month's bill arrived it was $650ish!

It was just one piece inside the tank that needed to be swapped out. A $10 part that literally took four minutes. It cost me over $1k just because I kept putting off looking at a toilet that had started running."


9. "Putting egg shells down your drain/garbage disposal. Tons of people do it. It can create a cement and clog your drain."

"A plumber told my wife that decades ago so we never did it. I figured there's no harm in not doing it so better safe than sorry. Then some friends of ours had plumbing problems. Lucky for them, the point of compaction was above an unfinished room so it was easy to get to. He cut out a section of PVC pipe and it was like a chunk of cement inside. All caused from egg shells."


10. "Previous homeowners bricked over the only (tiny) access point to the crawlspace. It's been super fun trying to fix copper plumbing lines they ran under the house, up an exterior wall to the second floor laundry. Every winter they freeze a few times. There's supposedly a heating line on them but I expect it's no longer working."

"I'm using next weekend to pull out the floor in the back stairwell to create a new access point so I can get under and see what's happening. I dread going into the crawlspace. I've been here for seven years and I have no idea what to expect."


11. "Not paying attention to termites invading his garage. The framing was so chewed up that the only thing keeping it standing was the outside stucco. And he won't take advice on it."


12. "Forgetting to clean the condensation line on my HVAC. During a hot streak in the summer, the condensation line got clogged. Water slowly leaked out of the HVAC (it was in a utility closet so I have no idea how long it was leaking). The water leaked under the drywall to the adjacent room and ruined all of the flooring."

13. "I only learned recently about the filter in the dishwasher and I’m so grossed out."


"I was probably the first person to clean that and my in-wall AC filter in my old apartment. The AC had to be replaced because of so much mold. The dishwasher was gross but after that and a proper dishwasher cleaner cycle, it was glorious to use again!"


"I swear to god I learn about a new filter or drain in my home every week and want to cry."


14. "I once left a bottle of toilet bowl cleaner on the laminate countertop. It leaked and permanently etched the countertop."


"I did something similar. We have hard water and it was leaving residue on our marble vanity top. I soaked some paper towels in vinegar and left it around the edges of the sink where the discoloration was. That stripped the sealant or whatever off and now it's etched or whatever I did to it. Sigh."


15. "A customer replaced the ballcock in his second floor toilet and then went out of town. A neighbor called the police the next day when water started coming out the front door. Always call a licensed plumber."

16. "Ignoring very basic maintenance like clearing debris causing water to pool on roofs. And ignoring caulking around windows. My aunt and uncle had a beautiful Spanish mission style house from the 1920s. And it was in really good condition when they bought it. Roughly 20-25 years later, the only thing in halfway decent condition were the wood floors."

"Roof was shot and actively leaking in multiple rooms. Causing plaster ceilings to just fall. Exterior walls were destroyed. Framing was completely destroyed, and again plaster just falling off he walls.

The house stood in great condition for over 70 years. And through minor neglect, fell apart in the last 20."


17. "The first 10 years we owned our house, we rarely (maybe never, I can't recall) got our gutters cleaned. We didn't see the value in it. Eventually, we had to replace an entire bay window and the surrounding wall. I think it cost $10-15k twenty years ago."

"The clogged gutter above the bay window structure didn't direct rainwater to the downspout, and it just poured down over the front. It poured on to the roof of the bay, got behind it, we were clueless (both worked long hours), and eventually we learned the structure rotted."


18. "Friend decided to finish his basement. Built his stud wall on the ground and tipped it up to place, then discovered it was an inch or two taller then it should have been."

"Instead of taking it down and cutting it to size, he managed to force it into place by essentially jacking up a section of his first floor. Upstairs, tile grout began to crack and come up, doors didn’t shut or latch properly, and you could see new gaps between the baseboards and flooring."

19. "Probably the biggest one I see a lot as an insurance agent is people not trimming trees over their roof. Usually the company has something to say about it, and it's not just because you want to avoid having a giant limb fall onto your roof during a storm, but also because the falling leaves or pine needles will make short work of your roof by encouraging moss, rot, and whatever else to propagate."

"I've told clients if they won't trim the trees, they'll want to get up there once or twice a year with a roof rake or broom, so it's easier to just take down the limbs and be safe."

20. "Oh pick me! I had a wash sink next to my washing machine. Had NO idea that the washing machine actually drained into the sink. Left a pile of rags in the sink and flooded the whole basement. I would like to say this was isolated, but I went on to do it two more times. The shop vac was my friend."

21. "Moved to Texas around a year ago. Learned the hard way that during the dry, hot months you are supposed to water your foundation to help the clay-like soil settle in and around it. Wtf, I have to water my house?"

22. "Our sump pump was working when we moved in, but about nine months later we had a week of heavy spring rains. I realized I hadn't heard the sump pump making noise for awhile so I went into the garage to check the three foot crawlspace we never use which runs the length of our entire house."

"I kid you not — we had a two foot deep swimming pool under our home. We spent $7k on getting the water pumped out, mold mitigation, getting a vapor barrier installed, and replacing the sump pump with one that has an alarm. The old sump pump was the cheapest one our plumber had ever seen. Would've been nice if our home inspector had bothered to mention it."

23. "Our newly purchased (one year) home nearly killed me this year. A pocket of leaked natural gas had floated into and sat in our nearby bedroom from the kitchen after I made a whole bunch of stuff for dinner with the gas oven and stove."

"Check for gas leaks regularly!!! The detectors are less than $20 on Amazon."


24. And finally, "My daughter looked at a house for sale where the owners poured unused tile grout down the tub drain. Totally clogged. Did NOT buy that one."



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