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."
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."
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."
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."
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!"
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."
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."
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 $10k–$15k 20 years ago."
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."