Many home-owners do not realise that if they fail to properly maintain their homes they are placing themselves at risk of having an insurance claim repudiated. Most homeowner insurance policies will only cover damage caused by unforeseen events and regard home maintenance as the responsibility of the home-owner, thus any claims determined as a result of poor maintenance or neglect are most likely to be rejected.
Proper home maintenance also ensures the safety of all who are living in the household so it really should be a priority for all home-owners. In order to avoid claim rejections it is advised to pay regular attention to the following areas of your home.
Your roof is one of the most important parts of your home as it protects you, your belongings and the structure of the building, from damage due to rain, wind and more. It is very important to regularly check the roof of your home for any leaks. Look around for any water spots, standing water or mould. Dampness on ceilings or walls can signal leaks that are just getting started.
Clean gutters and drain pipes to avoid leaves and other debris from clogging them up. It is also a good idea to ensure that the water is draining away from the house. Clogged gutters can cause water to pool on your roof which will result in rotting and leaks. Make sure to check your gutters at least twice a year. The best time to do so will be in the transitional seasons of spring and summer.
Along with the pleasure of having a fireplace, comes the responsibility of maintaining it properly. Check the chimney for loose or missing mortar and make sure the damper closes tightly. It is also advisable to have the chimney cleaned professionally at least once a year.
In the interest of the safety of those living in your home it is vital that all smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers are in good working order. Replace batteries in appropriate devices as needed, or at least twice a year.
In order to prolong the lifespan of your air conditioner it is advised that weatherproof covers are put on them. It is vital to clean or replace the filter of the air conditioner at least once a month.
Always check for leaky taps located in kitchens and bathrooms. If the taps are leaking from the spout it is most likely that the washers need replacing. Bear in mind that when working on leaking taps it is crucial to ensure that the water supply is cut to avoid unnecessary water damage and flooding.
Draining the geyser to remove sediment from the bottom of the tank is important. Although this can be done as a DIY project it is advised that the expertise of a plumber is used. By using a plumber he may timeously replace the anode and clean the geyser valve.
Make sure the refrigerator door seals are airtight. Test them by closing the door over a piece of paper. If you can pull the paper out easily, the latch may need adjusting or the seal may need replacing.
Windows and doors:
Windows and exterior doors are subject to the wear and tear due to constant use and exposure to weather conditions. Over time the door and frame materials can deteriorate and fail. Sealing drafty doors and windows by replacing the seals not only keep the cold of winter outside, but it could add to the resale value.
Cladding and paint:
Regular checking for cracks and holes in the cladding and paint of your home is important as it may indicate signs of a leak. Where needed it is advisable to replace the caulk to avoid water and mould of seeping in to crevices.
The current economic turmoil, coupled with the rising cost of living, has meant that many South African homeowners are simply not prioritising their home maintenance.
However, there are cheaper ways to maintain your home and if you start this process at the first sight of deterioration it will not be as costly as fixing a larger problem in the future. Spending a little bit now can mean saving a lot in the long run.