For the most part, one of the perks of being a homeowner is that you can take on maintenance and upkeep on your own terms. An overgrown lawn? It can wait until next weekend.

That fence that needs new paint? Spring is just around the corner – you’ll deal with it then.

However, this just isn’t the case for urgent home repairs. In this article, we’ll review several types of critical, time-sensitive home repairs you shouldn’t ignore or wait to complete – and what the consequences could be if you do.

Impending HVAC problems

Imagine your home in the summer with no air conditioning. Or, picture it in the winter without a working furnace. Your HVAC systems are a crucial part of your indoor comfort and home life. That’s why it’s so risky to ignore potential signs of cooling and heating problems. Pretending you just can’t hear that strange sound your air conditioner is making it isn’t going to solve the problem. In fact, it could end up making things much worse.

Most HVAC problems start small and seemingly insignificant. It’s tempting to push them to next weekend or the weekend after that. However, many of these issues can start to put increasing stress on the system that—if not dealt with—will lead to a breakdown, increase your home’s energy costs, and even shorten the overall lifespan of the system. When you procrastinate, you are putting yourself in a position where you’re bound to be surprised by the exact day and time your HVAC system finally breaks down. It could be the coldest night of winter, or the hottest day of summer.

When you notice something isn’t quite right with your air conditioner, deal with the problem, right then and there. Call in a professional HVAC technician to inspect your system and advise you on what it needs. You may want to also talk to a restoration and cleaning specialist about having your air ducts and HVAC system fully cleaned out.

Signs of leaks or water damage

It’s a paradox of sorts. Our homes are filled with water. We have water coursing through pipes, coming out of faucets and shower heads, and stored in a giant, metal tank in our garages and basements. Yet, when water is where it shouldn’t be, it’s an imminent threat to your home that needs to be dealt with right away.

Not all leaks are conveniently located right under the kitchen or bathroom sink. Many pipe leaks start behind walls, under floors, or in ceilings. This can make locating the leak’s origin point tricky. After all, gravity can carry water far from the pipe itself. Our recommendation is that you call a local plumbing company that specializes in leak detection. Using advanced equipment, your plumber should be able to accurately diagnose where the leak is coming from, allowing them to quickly access it and fix it.

Unfortunately, you’re not out of the woods yet. You need to address any water damage. Water can destroy floors, damage walls, and create the perfect conditions for mold and mildew growth. If you find signs of Hutto water damage or a leak, you first need to call a plumber: stopping the leak at its source is the initial step. However, you should also bring in a water damage restoration and mold remediation specialist to handle cleanup. Water damage just doesn’t “go away” on its own: your home can only get back to normal after a professional is brought in for a concerted cleanup process.

Electrical warning signs

This is perhaps the most dire and important item on this list. Never wait to deal with electrical issues in your home. The results could be destructive and tragic. In the United States, there are more than 350,000 home fires every year, and many of them are caused by faulty wiring, poor installation, or overtaxed circuits. Anything out of the ordinary is cause for alarm—and reason enough to call in a licensed electrician. This includes flickering lights, especially when you run appliances such as the vacuum cleaner. Or, if your circuit breaker in your home office is constantly tripping.

If a fire does occur in your home while you’re away, you’ll return to a much different place than the one you left. Home fires are absolutely devastating, there is nothing left untouched by smoke and flame. At that moment, returning to “normal” may feel impossible, but a key first step—after you’ve talked to your insurer—is getting a restoration specialist to come out to your home. Fire restoration professionals specialize in returning burned-out homes to normalcy, by making repairs, removing smoke damage, and restoring furniture and belongings. What you’ve experienced is every homeowner’s nightmare, but there is a future for your home after the fire.

Be prepared to take action

No matter how much time and money you put into home maintenance and upkeep, you’re inevitably going to be faced with an urgent home repair. It might not be today, or even tomorrow, but you need to be ready to take decisive action. Our recommendation is that you take the time now to vet out local plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, and other specialists in your area, so that you have them on “speed dial” in the event something goes wrong. After all, as we’ve reviewed above, time is of the essence when you’re facing any of these major home problems.

To learn more about other home repairs that shouldn’t be ignored – including roofing repairs – check out this new infographic.

Top Home Repairs You Should Never Ignore