Can’t remember when you last had the chimney cleaned or bled your radiators? Regular maintenance of your home is a responsibility that’s easy to forget, particularly when many tasks only need to be done once, twice or a few times a year. It is essential, however, to keep on top of repairs to your home so that tasks don’t stack up, making completing them all at once inordinately complicated and expensive. A house that looks shabby and uncared for can also hinder a quick sale if you’re looking to move home.
Our cold and rainy climate means that weatherproofing your home is essential for preventing damage to its structure. When the temperatures start to drop make sure you check the caulking around windows and doors and ensure your roof is free of leaks and has no damaged or missing tiles. Gutters and downspouts need to be clean and free of debris.
Another important element of home maintenance is ensuring the heating systems in your house are working efficiently. Air can become trapped inside radiators, and letting this air out by ‘bleeding’ them once a year can hugely increase their efficacy. You should also have your boiler checked regularly by a Gas Safe registered engineer and consider updating it if it’s more than 10 years old. Make sure you check your attic or loft for leaks and damage to the insulation from pests like mice. Flooding and damp can be expensive to repair so regularly inspect your fixtures and fittings in the kitchen and bathroom—this can range from ensuring your cistern isn’t leaky and still performs well, to checking cabinets for leaks and re-caulking and re-grouting where necessary.
See also: Luxurious, Low Maintenance Living
Keeping your home safe and secure should also be one of your top priorities and part of everyday home maintenance tasks. Ensure that any chimneys, vents and fireplaces are regularly inspected to keep them clean and in working order, and make sure you check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to see if they need their batteries replacing. Ask an electrician to take a look at any buzzing sockets or flickering lights in your home, as this could be evidence of an electrical hazard—and a potential fire risk.
Regularly inspect the exterior and structure of your home. Take a walk around the outside of the house to inspect the brickwork for signs of damage—such as poor or corroded pointing—and inspect your basement for mould, cracks and leaks. Any damp patches you spot around the house need to be dealt with quickly, as repairs can be expensive if the issue spreads and is left unattended.
Subsidence is what happens when a building’s foundations sink because the ground underneath it is unstable. This can be caused by the characteristics of certain soils: clay, for example, can shrink and expand when its moisture content is affected and trees and shrubs can also draw water from the soil. Leaky drains may also erode and soften the ground beneath a house.
The signs of subsidence can include visible cracks (both internal and external) that appear suddenly in a specific part of the house, doors and windows that stick, rippling wallpaper (that isn’t caused by damp) and cracks where an extension connects to a house. If you suspect your house may have subsidence then contact your insurer who will arrange a survey to confirm if your house has subsidence and whether it needs any further action.
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