Give your home an MOT: 7 ways to give your home an MOT
Give your home an MOT
7 ways to give your home an MOT
Our homes need even more regular care than our cars, especially during the winter months.
Whether you are thinking of selling your home, or just want to keep up with maintenance, giving your house an MOT – inside and out – will not only add value, it will also save you money in the long term
External house maintenance
Check your roof
Using a powerful torch, take a look inside your loft area first and check for signs of water seepage. Especially at the corners and where the chimney breast (if you have one) is located. Look for holes and loose nails. Then from your garden or the street, check with a pair of binoculars – or get a strong safety ladder – to check the whole roof for loose or cracked tiles. Check that the chimney pointing is safe (ie not tilting), otherwise rainwater could leak into your loft area.
If insurers can prove your roof was in a poor state of repair prior to your claim, you definitely won’t get compensated. So it makes sense to carry out repairs each season.
Check your flashing
Flashing is a strip of impervious material you’ll find on porches, windows, walls and doors. And on your roof between your chimney and your roof tiles. Flashing on your roof protects the inside of your house from potentially lethal water damage. And keeps your loft space dry. If flashing is missing or damaged, rainwater can easily seep in and run down the chimney, creating damp areas inside your house where the chimney meets and goes through the roof. This kind of damp can be serious enough to bring down ceilings if not checked, so keep vigilant. You can do the repair yourself or better still hire a recommended and competent roofer to do the job for you. Our PVC flashing is easy to work with and install.
Check all your gutters and drainpipes
Your gutters and drainpipes take water away from the inside of your home, preventing flooding and damp. Again, if you have water damage to your house due to any debris in your gutters, this won’t be covered by your insurance. So get up there with a step ladder and clear out all the gunk. You can always fit one of our twisted gutter guards to prevent further build-up.
Ensure all drainpipes are clear and scoop out any debris that has collected in the gullies (where the downpipe meets the drain). Leaves, crisp packets and newspapers can block gullies during autumn and winter. So clean out the gunk and give it a regular does of drain unblock too. This will ensure no water overflow, which could lead to water ingress inside your home.
If any of your drainpipes or guttering need replacing, we have a huge stock of PVC guttering solutions to suit your requirements.
Internal house maintenance
Check your household plumbing
An obvious check that is often overlooked – at your peril. Unchecked pipes can be the cause of leaks, which can lead to serious water damage.
If you have water tanks and pipes in unheated areas such as lofts, roof voids, garages and outbuildings, then we advise insulating them. This will help to prevent any pipes from freezing. Sometimes there are gaps in insulation, especially near fittings, valves or bends. Lagging is available at most DIY stores.
Sort out that dripping tap once and for all. Not only is the sound irritating, it only takes a tiny trickle to freeze and block the pipe completely.
Incredibly, some householders have no idea where the stop tap/valve is in their property. Most often you’ll find it under your kitchen sink. You turn it off by turning the valve clockwise. So give it a good test at regular intervals.
Service your boiler
Boilers can be very expensive to replace. So ensure you give your boiler a regular MOT. Either from a British Gas contract or from a recommended heating engineer. Remember, not all plumbers are heating engineers so check first before you hire!
Check your heating
Regularly bleed your radiators. If you don’t air will build up inside and they will give out much less heat, costing you money. If you are going away during winter for a few days, it’s a good idea to keep your heating on to avoid burst pipes. And keep your home cosy for your return. If you are going away for a short time in winter, it’s a good idea to leave your heating on. Not only will this save you from burst pipes, but your home will also be cosy for your return. Give a neighbour – or a family member – your keys so they can check the house for you.
Obviously, if you have a property that is not lived in, then it’s always advisable to turn off the water supply (via the stop cock). This will help prevent burst pipes.
Check your electricity supply
Always get a professional electrician to conduct any checks on the wiring of your house. You can order a visual inspection – where he or she will point out any deterioration, damage or defects. Areas checked will include: light switches and fittings, plugs and sockets, main fuse board, earthling and bonding, kitchen and bathroom, visible evidence of burning/scorching, electrical cables and leads and RCD protection around the house.
Alternatively, you can get an EICR report which gives you a more in-depth survey of all your electrical systems and will let you know if your home complies with the British Standard for electrical safety (BS 7671).
Clean your white goods
Keep your washing machine clean from mould and dirt, using detergent or even lime scale remover. And remember to clear out the lint too. Make sure the rubber door seals are kept free of mould. Clean the doors inside and out.
It’s often a good idea to run the washing machine without clothes for one cycle, to rinse everything through. You can buy special wash machine and dishwasher cleansing liquids just for this purpose. They are highly effective and the stainless steel interiors will look shiny and new after just one spin.
Clean your bath, shower and tiles
Keep your bathroom, shower areas and kitchen tiles extra clean and free from mould with a special tile cleaner. Or for a less toxic solution, just mix vinegar and water and brush off with a toothbrush. For extra stubborn black mould, often found on sealants, put some bleach on a piece of cotton wool, place it over the mould and leave for at least 24 hours. Remove cotton wool and the black will be gone.
These simple house-MOT hints will help save you money and leave you with a worry-free winter, safe in the knowledge that your home is taken care of.
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