Mold, Mice and Mildew: Simple Solutions to Common Homeowner Headaches

Mold, Mice and Mildew: Simple Solutions to Common Homeowner Headaches


Moving from rented accommodation into your own home is exciting and liberating. At last, you are free to look after your home in your own way. But it can also be challenging. When something goes wrong, you can no longer just pick up the phone and report it—from now on it’s down to you. And things will go wrong. The trick is learning how to deal with the problems without losing sleep over them.




Starting at the top, things can go wrong with your roof. Shingles or tiles coming loose do not necessarily mean that the roof is failing—they can be easily replaced. If the problem is becoming widespread, or if you spot water coming into the attic space, then you probably need advice on how to repair the roof.


Some roof problems are caused by overflowing gutters. At least once a year, clean out the gutters and check that the downpipes are flowing freely. Leaf catchers at the top of the downpipes can help to keep them clear.


Cracks in the walls and foundations are worrying, but you probably don’t need to panic. Cracks almost always happen somewhere and are usually cosmetic. Keep an eye on them and get advice from a builder or surveyor if they seem to be getting wider.




Every home seems to be irresistible to rodents and insects. If you have a small infestation you may be able to trap or poison the invaders. If you decide to trap, decide whether you are going for a trap that kills or just imprisons. If you are going to catch the pests alive, don’t release them anywhere near your home.


Poison can be effective, though it carries some risks in the hands of an amateur. Some poisons, like rodent smoke bombs, are of limited use in a house.




Dripping taps are wasteful and annoying. It is quite easy to change the washer or tighten the joint. Burst pipes are a bigger problem, but unusual if your pipes are properly insulated against the cold. In either case, know where your stopcock is and turn it from time to time so that you are sure it will not seize up in an emergency.


Persistent damp can have many causes—down from the roof, up through the walls, or out from a leaking pipe somewhere. It will produce mold which is unpleasant and unhealthy. You’ll need expert help with rising damp or a leaking roof, but you can probably find that leaking pipe and fix it.


Damp is frequently caused by condensation; ensure that you have good ventilation everywhere, especially in bedrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms. Then treat the damp surfaces with a mold killer spray. A damp meter will tell you if the problem persists.


Happy Homes
Having your own home means that there will always be something that needs attending to. Don’t get stressed—many things can be fixed with a little common sense, an internet search, and knowing when to call for help.

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