We’ve all seen sitcoms where the roof starts to leak and everyone runs for a bucket. As humorous as it might look, having a roof leak is anything but funny. When it comes to your home’s integrity, your roof does a lot. It is a structural and protective barrier from the elements. Sadly, proper roof maintenance is often forgotten, even by handiest of homeowners. Here’s why a leaky roof is more dangerous than you might think.

Threatens Your Home

Most people think the walls are the supporting structures in their home, however, your roof is also vitally important. When your roof starts to leak, it can weaken not only the roof itself but your attic, beam supports within the walls and even the floorboards. If not repaired, the attic can collapse inside your home. Prior to this, you may start to see areas of dampness on ceilings or walls that are soft to the touch. Your home might also start to have a musty smell. When you notice these signs, set out to fix them right away.

Threatens Your Safety

A leaky roof can be the root cause of mold growth inside your home, usually in places you least expect. Mold thrives in dark, damp places, so if your roof is leaking, mold spores can quickly multiply and spread in your attic, walls, carpeting, tiles, and even on furniture. If this occurs, even the healthiest of people may start to develop allergic-type symptoms, which include chronic cough, runny nose, itchy eyes and sneezing. Mold is especially dangerous for people already suffering from asthma and other types of respiratory problems. The worst part is, certain types of molds are invisible to the naked eye, so even if you don’t see actual mold growth, mold spores could be in the air. Finally, roof leaks can cause life-threatening injuries. You don’t think about it, but slips can be serious and are one of the major causes of death. it’s not uncommon for water to accumulate from roof leaks in areas that are hard to see. When this happens, you may slip and fall face forward or backward, both of which can cause serious, if not deadly injuries.

Increases Your Utility Bills

Your health and your home’s integrity aren’t the only things you need to worry about. Having a leaky roof can also dramatically increase your utility bills, costing you hundreds of dollars each year. When your roof is in disrepair, heating and air conditioning can escape through the roof, causing your HVAC unit to run longer than it should. Not only does this increase your energy consumption, but it can also cause unnecessary wear and tear on your HVAC system. In turn, you may find that your HVAC unit also needs repair or needs replaced, even with seasonal maintenance. The best way to ward off roof leaks is with annual maintenance. Play it safe and schedule routine maintenance at the same time you have your HVAC checked.

If you suspect your roof is leaking, time is of the essence. Don’t wait until you see the first drops of water inside your home. By that time, there could already be structural damage.