Bad household habits can cause permanent damage to your most valuable asset.
Your house is probably your most valuable asset, yet there are things people do that can potentially cause it damage – the kind that results in expensive repairs or permanent ruin, such as …
Not airing out your house
Even though colder weather is upon us, it’s still important to open your windows every now and then to give it some air and prevent mould build up. Each time you shower or cook, you contribute to an ideal environment for mould spores which are especially harmful to older people, so airing out your house once a week will keep it drier and minimise nasty odours. Also, after you shower, open a window or leave your exhaust fans on until the glass and mirrors are free of fog.
If your weatherboards, windows sills or any other part of your house made of wood looks like it needs a coat of paint, don’t put it off. Allowing the weather to get to the wood is a first-class ticket to rot and mould. Applying a fresh coat of paint to wooden window frames and door architraves is a much cheaper option than replacing them entirely.
Not cleaning gutters
Ignoring your gutters can lead to a build-up of leaves which, when it rains, can cause backflow of water into the house’s eaves, windows and roofs. These leaks can easily make their way in between your walls, causing nasty bloating and damage to your plaster walls. Sure, it can be a hassle to drag out the ladder and clean out your gutters, but it’s way less hassle than having to repair the damage caused by ignoring them. If you can’t do it, you should ask an able-bodied friend or family member, or hire someone who can.
Letting gardens grow wild
Leaving your garden untended can cause serious damage to your home. Creeper plants are major culprits, with their tiny tendrils finding their way into small cracks between bricks and woodwork and into your roof. Not only can this harm your house, but it can also be a major fire hazard. Larger trees left unchecked can also rub against the exterior of your home, removing paint in the process and allowing the rain to get into the wood. Also, roots from these trees can damage pipes and brickwork.
Getting out into the garden once every few weeks will not only save you money in the long run, it’s also a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the benefits of being outdoors, so grab your secateurs and gloves, and get cracking (or find someone who can help you)!
If you have a slight leak from your taps, pipes, roof, washing machine or anywhere in your bathroom, don’t just sop it up with a towel or place a bucket beneath it – get it fixed. Leaks, even minor ones, can do irreparable damage to your floors, ceiling and walls, to the point where, one day, you may need to replace them.
Washing food down the sink
Rinsing food scraps into your sink instead of scraping them into a bin is a common household habit that can lead to a call to a plumber. When you wash food down the sink, over time, it leaves a residue in your pipes, which can lead to clogging and an expensive call-out to a plumber.
The heavy impact from slamming doors can weaken joinery, damage hinges and handles, and create cracks in your walls. So the next time you’re in a huff, don’t take it out on your door, or you may have to foot a bill for repairs.
Not checking smoke alarms
Smoke alarms are your first line of safety in the event of a fire, yet many Australians treat them as though they are merely a decoration. Ensure you replace your smoke alarm batteries every six months and, while you’re doing that, give them a quick wipe and test that the alarm actually works.
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Do you know of any other common household habits that can cause damage to your home? Why not share your tips with our members?