A great deal of the UK’s housing stock was built in the Victorian and Edwardian eras, and many homes are well over 100 years old.
Speak to anyone who owns such a property and they’ll tell you it takes significant effort to maintain it to a standard which prevents longer-term problems from developing.
Whether you own an older home or one which is more modern, there are many maintenance tasks you should carry out to keep it in good order. Here are six of the most important:
Service your boiler
It might be lovely and warm right now in high summer, but come winter, if your boiler conks out, it will be but a distant dream and you’ll have a nightmare on your hands. Getting your boiler serviced annually goes a long way towards preventing such a scenario so it’s well worth it.
The service helps keep the system sludge free and humming along nicely, and a qualified tradesman only charges around £60. It also means less chance of a potentially hugely costly replacement and, more worryingly, a dangerous escape of gas or carbon monoxide.
It’s not a pleasant task, but cleaning out your gutters every year after the leaves have fallen from the trees is really important.
If you don’t, then come autumn and winter, rain water can constantly overflow down walls, getting into cracks in brickwork, render and even into loft spaces, causing problems when water freezes, and even damp in the longer term.
Check home security
Checking security is another vital home maintenance task as it can save you from the potentially terrifying ordeal of being burgled, as well as the cost of increased insurance premiums as a result.
According to shocking recent statistics from financial comparison site Moneysupermarket, 74% of burglars get in via the front door. So it’s vital to ensure your locks aren’t loose and hinges and other door fixings securely in place. If you only have a rim lock, or Yale lock as they’re also commonly called, get a proper deadlock and/or mortice locking system fitted as well.
The same applies to windows which don’t have good locking systems, such as many old wooden sash windows.
Cracks and render
The problems blocked gutters and storms can cause are made worse if the external walls of a home aren’t well maintained.
Look for cracks in render and brickwork, and anywhere it appears loose or ‘blown out’, and get it fixed.
If pointing between brickwork is crumbling and has fallen out, you should have it re-pointed as water can get in, causing cracking when it freezes and potentially damp over time.
Clean the drains
Keeping waste water flowing smoothly away from a home is crucial in both the short and longer-term.
In the short term is prevents blockages that can flood a home with sewage and waste water. While in the longer term, if water is slowly leaking into the soil under and around a property, it can possibly even damage a home’s foundations and increase the likelihood of damp.
Lift up drain covers to inspect pipework and to check for sediment and debris clinging to pipes. Flush with water from a garden hose, and, if you can, push cleaning pipes through.
Fit drainage covers to any points where soil, leaves and other debris could get into the drainage system such as open drains.
Insulate pipes and check for leakage
One of the main reasons for insurance claims in the UK is burst pipes in the winter. If you don’t fit cladding to pipes in unheated areas of the home, where temperatures can plummet in cold weather, such as lofts and basements, you’re asking for trouble.
Slow leaks and drips are also a problem because, as with drainage issues, they can undermine a home’s foundations and cause damp if they occur over many years.
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Published 24th July 2019