Easy home maintenance chores to help avoid insurance claims

Insurers deal with many household claims that could be avoided with some simple home maintenance.

Here are a few of the most common.

Gutters and downpipes

It’s dirty, messy and almost zero fun, but cleaning out your gutters and downpipes should at least be a bi-annual task, more if you have a lot of overhanging trees.

If removing piles of damp leaves doesn’t appeal, thankfully, there are many companies that will do it for you, and often do a better job. Many use vacuum systems to properly clear downpipes that you would have no hope of evacuating.

Gutters and downpipes are great at doing their job, until they are not. They can often be a hidden menace. Unlike roof leaks, any problems with your gutters and downpipes leaking may not be found until the problem is serious.

Read: The tricks hospital cleaners use to clean their own homes

Take a good look at your guttering next time it rains and check if there is any overflow or leaks. Smaller problems can often be fixed with a few nails, say if the guttering has pulled away from the roof, but if it seems beyond you don’t hesitate to call a roof plumber.

And remember the golden rule, in our house at least, no-one over 50 goes up on a ladder without supervision.

Roofs

When you are on the ladder doing the guttering, check out your roof as well.

Some roof leaks are blindingly obvious. Water pouring through the ceiling is like that, but water may also leak into wall cavities or onto supporting beams and could do serious damage before being found.

If there are any rusted panels or cracked or broken tiles, it’s time to call the professionals in.

But roofs are sneaky. Apart from the main body of the roof, there is a lot that can go wrong, so also check out the mortar, flashings and bedding.

Read: How to make your home snug this winter

Garden beds

Garden beds placed hard up against the house can harbour damp that could damage your exterior walls. They may also be blocking ventilation ducts that could affect ventilation and cause mould.

Check all garden beds, and if plants are touching the house, prune them back hard.

If you have called in the professionals, get them to look at overhanging trees as well. They might be able prune them back so they don’t drop leaves into the gutters.

So, you have bought a new home. Congratulations, but there are a few things to be done if you have just moved in.

Read: Health hazards hiding in your home

Change the locks

Taking possession of a set of keys to your new property is always exciting but it’s also a good time to change the locks.

You don’t know who’s been in the house. The previous owners probably had a few tradies in to fix up the property before it went on the market and neighbours and previous tenants may also have some copies.

Peace of mind is king. Get a locksmith in as soon as you can to replace the locks and consider upgrading them to more secure units while they are there, it’s cheaper than getting them in twice.

Flexi hoses

Inspecting all your flexi hoses is another one of those hidden tasks that could save you plenty of angst.

Check all the flexi hoses on your appliances, sinks and toilets.

Leaking flexi hoses can cause extensive damage, especially if they are not picked up with any sort of haste, and let’s face it, who regularly peers behind their appliances to check on them?

Fire alarms

Hopefully the previous owner has regularly changed the batteries in the fire alarms but just in case, replace them all and dust all the units. It should take less than an hour and give you a year of security.

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Written by Jan Fisher

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