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Developing a regular routine for checking and carrying out repairs has a number of benefits. It means that problems are unlikely to mount up, giving you greater peace of mind and a comfortable place to live. You’ll be able to spread the price of any repairs over a longer period of time. By maintaining your home to a good standard can also mean your home insurance premiums are more reasonable. This may also mean the resulting costs work out cheaper than having to deal with an emergency situation and urgent work. You are also more likely to obtain the best possible price for your property when you come to sell.
A watchful eye
Regular checks can help you spot potential problems before they get out of hand. Then you can decide whether it’s a job you can take on yourself, or one where you need to call in the experts.
It’s a good idea to equip yourself with a basic toolkit, including such essentials as a five metre tape measure, hammer, pliers, set of screwdrivers, Stanley knife, adjustable spanner, torch and so on. Draw up a checklist of areas that may need attention, so that you’re confident you have everything covered.
Out and about
Take a look at your external walls to see if there are any cracks or crumbling bricks. Are the airbricks blocked by earth or leaves? Maybe ask a neighbour if you can view your roof from their bedroom window to see if there are any missing, slipped, broken tiles or slates. Also, check for damaged or torn coverings to flat roofs, broken chimney pots or missing pointing.
Look out for splits and cracks in guttering and pipes. Keep guttering free of leaves and other debris, and don’t ignore dripping overflow pipes. Move on to your windows and doors, being alert to missing mastic, putty or cement seals, rot and flaking paint.
Taking it all in
It’s easy to ignore your boiler and central heating in the Summer months, but this is the best time to make sure they’re in good working order. Don’t wait until the weather turns cold before having the boiler serviced. Release the air from the radiators if necessary and clean out any grilles. Do a top-to-toe inspection of the floors and roof space. Look for signs of leaks in your attic, making sure that timbers are free from damp and woodworm. Check that pipes and tanks are fully lagged. From a cost and environmental point of view it's good to have at least four inches of loft insulation.
Patches of damp on walls or ceilings could mean leaks in the roof or radiators. Also, if your floors feel unduly springy, there may be a problem with rotting or weakened joists. A low level tide mark is a possible indication of a defective damp proof course.
If you have a condensation problem in your bathroom or kitchen, it’s well worth improving the ventilation in these rooms. Think of your house as a body in need of medical check ups. A thorough examination on a regular basis means you are more likely to spot minor complaints before they become a major problem.
Make sure that your home and contents are fully insured in case of accidents.