Extend the life of your home and contents
03 March 2023
Over time, everyday wear and tear will naturally worsen the condition of your home and contents.
As wear and tear is an everyday occurrence and certain to happen over time, it is not covered by most insurance policies.
We recommend carrying out routine inspections and maintenance of your home to fix problems before they become serious. Taking care of your home can slow down the effects of wear and tear and helps avoid expensive repairs.
Gutters, windows and roofs
Sun, wind and rain all cause roof tiles and windows to age and rot. This wear can let water into your property, eventually causing more damage and leading to unwanted repair bills.
- Gutters can become blocked and prevent rainwater from draining safely away from the home. It can instead flow down walls leading to water damage and damp.
- Cleaning gutters and downpipes on a regular basis will prevent gutters from blocking and causing damage. Please note - unless you have the right equipment and experience to do this yourself, we would recommend hiring a professional.
- Keep a close eye on your roof, checking for signs of damage such as missing or cracked tiles. These should be repaired or replaced as soon as you can to avoid a leaky roof.
- Take care to also check flashings around chimneys for signs of deterioration.
- If you are replacing ridge tiles, there are new systems that provide more durable protection and better ventilation.
Please note- Ladders can be dangerous. We recommend making visual checks of your roof from the ground. If you are having difficulty getting a close look, binoculars may help, or you can contact a professional service.
- Check areas where felt meets gutters to ensure there are no leaks.
- Flat roofs will have a limited lifespan and should be replaced in line with manufacturer recommendations.
- The build-up of standing water on flat roofs, sometimes described as ponding, can cause damage over time and lead to leaks, so remove the water if possible.
- Check condition of joints, sealant and hinges for signs of wear and make repairs where possible.
- Timber is likely to swell and rot over time. A layer of paint can give wooden frames better protection from the elements. Be sure to remove old paint before you begin to avoid causing the windows to stick.
Bathrooms and Kitchens
Make regular checks of your bathroom and kitchen for signs of wear to your sealant and grout. Weaker areas will eventually let water seep through. Escape of water or damage caused by old grout or sealant is not covered by most insurance policies.
- Using a quality sealant can help to prevent the build-up of black mould.
- If you are replacing sealant, ensure all old sealant is removed and the area is sterilised before applying.
- Grout helps protect walls from water seeping between tiles. Where grout is chipped, cracked or visibly wearing, it should be repaired as soon as possible.
- In both your kitchen and bathroom, look for damp spots below pipes as there may be a leak. A gradual leak can cause wood to rot.
- Worn washers can cause dripping taps and enable the slow release of water over many weeks. This can be especially expensive if you have a water meter. Washers are reasonably easy and cheap to replace.
- Check pipes on fixed appliances such as washing machines and radiators for signs of bulging or cracking.
- In the event of a water leak, you need to turn your water off as quickly as possible. Knowing where your stop valve is will save vital time and help to prevent further damage to your home.
- Areas of carpet which are used more frequently will wear thinner. Moving furniture around can help avoid thin patches and help carpets to wear more evenly.
- Taking your shoes off at the door will prevent the carpet from darkening, especially in walkway areas.
- Thorough cleaning helps to maintain the look and feel of your carpet. Professional cleaning will help to keep your carpet looking fresh, if you have a carpet warranty this is often a requirement.
Condensation and mould
Condensation can be made worse by some day-to-day activities. Drying your washing indoors, for example, can create more moisture in the air which may condense and cause mould or even damp. You can help to prevent mould and damp with some simple steps.
- Clear the condensation using towels or a squeegee.
- Bowls of salt on windowsills can help to draw excess water from the air.
- Open windows to improve ventilation, this is vital even in the winter months. If you don’t have windows in your bathroom or kitchen, installing a fan will help to ventilate these rooms.
- You can also use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air.
Your home’s electrics will slow down and can become unsafe in time. Electrical problems need checking by a professional and some may remain hidden unless inspected and tested. Electrical inspections are therefore required every ten years in owner-occupied homes and every five years in rented properties.
- Watch out for warning signs including frequent circuit breaker tripping or fuse blowing, flickering lights, mild electric shocks or tingles, scorch marks near heaters or toasters, unusual buzzing or hissing sounds, or smells.
- Broken lights or power switches may not have a clear ‘click’ so this can also be a sign something isn’t working properly.
- Always keep the details of your home’s last electrical inspection and note the date your next inspection is due.
- Where possible, avoid the use of extension leads.
- Do not overload multi-point socket adapters.
Like wear and tear, mechanical breakdown happens to electrical items over time. Again, this is not usually covered by insurance policies and regular computer maintenance is required to keep systems running smoothly.
- Make sure you turn your computer off when it is not in use.
- Update software regularly.
- Install and maintain anti-virus software and always use strong passwords to protect against cyber attack.
- Delete old files or use external storage to free up space.
Trees form a natural part of the landscape, bringing wide and varied benefits to residential areas. However, they also have the potential to cause significant damage to property.
We often see trees fall during strong winds; however, it is unusual for this to happen to a healthy tree due to storm conditions alone. Trees suffering from previous damage, disease or decay are more likely to fall because of weather conditions. Also, tree structures may be affected by local groundworks, landscaping or drainage works.
To reduce the risk of damage, check your trees as part of your general care for your house and garden. If you detect anything unusual about them, call a local tree surgeon, who can tell you if any work is needed. You can find more advice on the National Tree Safety Group website, specifically their leaflet Managing trees for safety.