In an economic recession, homeowners might have to play defense when it comes to home repairs.

We have all read articles on renovations or additions that can add value to our house: a new kitchen, remodeled bathrooms, a deck. Such upgrades aren’t your priority just now.

If you are out of work, or at risk of being out of work, you need to focus on repairs that will preserve the value of your house. That means fixing roofs, shoring up foundations, repairing or replacing malfunctioning furnaces.

In short, think of all the things that could cause your house to flunk a home inspection. It won’t be because you have ugly tile in your kitchen or lack a bidet in your bathroom. It will because your roof is shot, your house is sagging or there are flood marks on your basement walls. These are problems that threaten the integrity of the house, which is why home inspectors properly focus on them.

Some repairs, like putting on a new roof, are apparent to buyers and will raise the price of your house if you have to sell it. Others, like fixing basement leaks, won’t. Buyers aren’t paying extra for a leak-free house. But they will demand a discount, or not buy the house at all, if you don’t take care of the leaks.

Even if you plan to live in a house for the rest of your life, there are problems you can’t afford to ignore.

• Roofs: Don’t wait until a roof leaks badly before fixing it. By then, much of the damage is done. You need to take preventive action. If you do need a new roof, expect to pay $5,000 to $8,000 for a basic asphalt roof. Bigger houses can run a good bit more than that.

• Foundations: Signs of foundation problems include cracking walls, doors and windows that don’t close, and sagging floors or ceilings. Foundation repairs generally aren’t cheap but if you don’t fix them, they could cost you a lot more.

• Exterior walls: In addition to protecting the roof and foundation, you have to protect what’s in between. Paint and exterior siding protect your house from the elements and help maintain structural integrity. They also help boost the curb appeal of a house.

• Heating and air conditioning system: If your furnace goes out in Minneapolis in the winter, you could damage your pipes, plus the house will become too cold to live in. If you are living in Orlando, a working air conditioning system is essential for keeping out moisture and mold. On top of that, a malfunctioning furnace can be deadly if it leaks carbon monoxide. So, problems must be fixed.