Five common household problems in Canadian homes

When one is an immigrant in Canada and comes from a country with very different weather in comparison, a lot of things related to Canadian houses are going to be new to you and maybe even cause a few surprises.

I, for example, was not familiar with the functioning of heating or air conditioning systems when I moved to Ottawa, because we don’t have them in our houses in my home country. The weather back there is so mild compared to Canada.

I didn’t know that windows and doors in Canadian homes are hermetically sealed to avoid losing heat. I didn’t know that bursting pipes were a serious problem, because of the risk of flooding.

So, living in Canada you are going to get to know household problems that probably you never dealt with before. This post is about those household issues that you would like to avoid, because the cost of repairs is very high, and can range from a couple hundred dollars to thousands of dollars.

1. Plumbing issues

Plumbing problems are very frequent and range from runny toilets and blocked drains, to underground collapsed pipes in older houses.

“Unclogging a drain can cost around 300 dollars, while underground pipe relining, and pipe repairs can cost thousands of dollars”, said Maxim Osadchyi, a plumbing engineer and the owner of Ottawa-based company Dr.Pipe Drain and Plumbing.

Osadchyi said that while some of the smaller and more common household issues can be DIY (do it yourself), homeowners should avoid trying to repair pipes without hiring a professional licensed plumber.

“A call to a professional today can avoid you having worse damage tomorrow!” Osadchyi said. To prevent plumbing problems, he recommends a visual inspection of all of the fixtures once every six months, and maintenance for the backwater valve, sump pump, and shut-off valves once a year.

2. Improper surface grading or drainage.

This problem can lead to a serious household issue, namely water penetration in the basement and crawlspace. When there isn’t good grading or when there are cracks in the concrete floor, groundwater gets through and into the basement.

Foundation repair can be very costly. The cost can be many thousands of dollars.

3. Roof leaks

Damaged shingles can cause water leaks in the roof. While it’s relatively inexpensive to replace shingles, if the water damage is extensive or the roof is too old, you might need to replace the entire roof.

view of a roof under construction

4. Problems with the heating system

Furnaces are designed to last a long time, but neglecting to check them or to give them adequate maintenance can result in awful surprises and costly expenses.

With Canada’s frigid winter temperatures nobody would want to wake up in the middle of the night only to realize that the heating is not working. Can you imagine that scenario?

Some of the most common problems that affect the heating system are malfunctioning in the control or ignition system, a faulty thermostat, leaky ductwork, poor circulation and airflow, overrun heat pumps, and dirty filters.  

view of a gas furnace
Gas furnace of a home in Ottawa

5. Mold growth

Poor ventilation in your home, leaky pipes or a leaky roof, and an excess of humidity indoors create the perfect environment for mold growth. Some varieties of mold are highly allergenic and can cause respiratory problems in the upper respiratory tract.

To avoid these issues it is important to make sure your home gets proper ventilation on a daily basis, and it’s recommended to always check under the kitchen sink, the basement, or bathrooms where there could be condensation.

Have you experienced some of these household problems? I have. An outdoor pipe burst in winter. Since our house in Ottawa was rented, the owner took care of the repairs, but we had to pay a water bill of 350 dollars! I hope this post is helpful to you, and don’t forget to check on your homes. Take care.

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2 thoughts on “Five common household problems in Canadian homes

  1. Hello, Thank you for sharing this article, I moved to Ottawa with my family a week ago , and we started looking for houses, as I wanted to be centertown for the first year the majority of houses are old, now I am afraid of getting those kind of issues , is it for the tenant to fix them or still the responsibility of the landlord after I signed the bail ?

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