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Subtle Signs Something's Seriously Wrong with Your House

Experts reveal little signs that could signify huge problems. 

Is your house trying to send you a message? We all know that your walls can't exactly talk. However, there are oftentimes subtle signs that your home is having some issues – and identifying them sooner rather than later can save you from a major catastrophe. Here are 11 subtle signs that something is seriously wrong with your house, according to experts. 

The Lights Are Flickering

String Lights in Backyard

Flickering light bulbs may not mean there is a ghost in your house – or even that your lightbub needs changing. There could be a major issue with your electrical system, says Dan Mock, Vice President of Operations of Mister Sparky. "The subtle flicker of failing light bulbs can foretell electrical disturbances. Deciphering the warning signs and providing practical solutions quickly within your home's electrical system is crucial," he says. 

You Hear Dripping Sounds

dripping faucet

When you notice the persistent drip of leaking pipes or plumbing malfunctions, address the issue sooner rather than later, or you might have a flood on your hands. "It's important to understand the origins of these issues and how to address and rectify them to safeguard the integrity of your home during the fall season," says Michael Green, Chief Operating Officer of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing.

Dead Areas in Your Grass

blue lawn aeration device on brown lawn

As seasons change, so will your lawn. But if you are seeing large dead areas in your grass, this could mean there is something wrong with your current lawn treatment plan or sprinkler system. "As a homeowner, you don't want to let this get out of hand or you might have to replace all of your grass," explains Rob Palmer, President of Lawn Squad.

Cracking in Your Walls, Sinking Floors, Other Small Cracks

white hand pointed at cracked wall

Depending on the age of the home, cracking in walls can indicate settling or foundation sinkage, explains Corey Buescher, Virtual Handyperson Expert at Frontdoor. Here's what to look for:

—Sinking floors, which could indicate a bad support or ledger board that is supporting the floor is failing. This could require having it jacked up and re-supported.

—Subtle cracks in sheetrock, typically at the corners of door framing

—Hairline cracks in stucco or cracked grout in tile flooring.

—Bowing walls in your basement, which might mean the wall needs to be anchored into the ground.

Discoloration or Paint Bubbling of the Ceiling, Walls, or Floors

ceiling stain home problems

Pay attention to any discoloring of the ceiling, walls, or floors – even bubbling of paint – says Buescher. "This could be a sign of water getting in, under or behind your roof, walls and flooring. This intrusion of water should be located and repaired before there is serious damage done to your house."

Water in Your Basement

puddle in corner of basement

One of the first things realtors look out for when it comes to finding homes for their clients is water in the basement, which Kat Christie, founder of She Fixed That, LLC, DIY Expert, Licensed Contractor, says is a really bad thing. "You never want water in your basement," she says. It can indicate a variety of issues in your homes including leaky basements, broken pipes, and bad drainage systems. 

Animal Droppings

Rats Stealing Food in Pantry
Maliutina Anna/Shutterstock

Beware of little poops. Vermin are a common issue, and should be dealt with ASAP. "Be checking consistently for mouse or rat droppings," says Christie. "Mice can chew wires, eat your food, or spread sickness. It's best to nip mouse problems in the bud immediately."

Little, Dusty Tunnels

Termite making their route or Mud tunnel (Tube of Subterranean Termites), Selective focus.

Another common household problem that can do some serious damage. "Make sure to look for sides of termite damage," advises Christie. "It looks like little dusty tunnels."

Dust Accumulation

Woman dusting side table

Are you noticing perpetual dust accumulation around the house, despite regular filter changes? "This could be due to a leaking return duct system or a poor return air filtration within the house's HVAC units," says Buescher. "The main HVAC duct work may need to be cleaned out and the return duct sealed up properly. It wouldn't hurt to have the main duct systems inspected with a camera to see just how dirty they are."

Your Family Is Getting Sick More Often

A young woman lying on the couch with symptoms of COVID, the flu, or a cold

If you notice you or your loved ones are getting sick more often, it could be something within your home, Buescher warns. "Mold growth is common in homes and can contribute to sickness and respiratory problems." Asbestos, mold, radon, and carbon monoxide can also cause these issues.

 RELATED: 11 Easy Things You Can Do to Slow Down Aging

Your Breakers Keep Tripping

circuit breaker with lots of wires
Shutterstock/Vietnam stock photos

Other signs of electrical issues within and around your house, according to Buescher?

—Breakers that trip for no known reason.

—Appliance plugs that show signs of charring on prongs or that seem to burn out more quickly than they should.

—Switches that require repeated switching to successfully turn on a light.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more
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