1. Peeling Exterior Paint

Cause: Moisture is probably getting underneath the paint, perhaps from a leaking gutter overhead or from a steamy bathroom on the other side of the wall.

Cure: If you catch the problem right away, you might just need to address the moisture issue and then scrape off the loose paint, prime bare spots, and repaint that wall, for a total of a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars. Delay too long and the siding might rot. Patching and repainting the whole house could cost $10,000.

To prevent a chronically steamy bathroom, install a new ventilation fan with a humidity-sensing switch that automatically exhausts moisture-laden air. Cost is about $250.

2. Flickering Lights

Cause: If only a single bulb flickers, it might be loose in its socket or in need of replacement. If lights always dim when the refrigerator or other appliance turns on, the circuit might be overloaded. If groups of lights flicker, connections at the electrical panel or elsewhere might be loose, causing power to arc — or jump — over the gaps. Arcing is a serious problem; it starts fires.