Most of us regularly service our car, yet we often fail to show our homes the same sort of love.
Just as regular oil changes keep your car chugging along happily, having a maintenance program in place for your home will help you save money by avoiding costly repairs and make your home a nicer place to live.
Maintaining your home in good order may also be a condition of your home insurance policy, and as Mortgage Choice brokers know, keeping your place in great shape can see your home enjoy improved long term capital gains – a plus if you plan to refinance or upgrade further down the track.
Where to begin?
Servicing your home doesn't have to be expensive. There is a whole range of jobs you can get stuck into yourself. To help you get started, we've drawn up a chart of chores that can be undertaken at regular calendar intervals. Check out what's involved to keep your home happy and healthy for years to come.
- Clean kitchen range hood filters – this an icky job if you're doing it for the first time but it gets easier thereafter. Mix an auto degreaser with hot water, apply liberally to the filters and let stand for several minutes before rinsing off. Sorted.
- Check smoke alarms – this could save your home, even your life. Check the alarms and batteries are in working order, and if there any issues replace the batteries or the whole unit. It won't break the bank but it will bring peace of mind.
- Clean fridge coils – dirt, dust or grime caught on fridge coils can leave you paying higher power bills. Gently slide your fridge forward and carefully vacuum the coils. Presto – savings on electricity.
- Clean gutters – climbing on rooves and around eaves is no one's idea of fun (do take care) but gutters can quickly fill with leaf matter and other debris, causing blockages that can lead to water damage and damp. Once cleared, run a hose through the gutters for a final flush that will show any dodgy spouts or a loose connections, then you're good to go.
- Check the interior of your roof cavity – it can be a bit spooky up in the roof cavity but it's a favourite haunt for possums, birds and other unwanted guests including mice and rats. While you're there take a moment to check that insulation is not bunching around power outlets or ceiling light fittings (a potential fire hazard), and look for daylight shining through the roof – it can be evidence of cracked or slipping tiles.
- Test your water heater's pressure relief valve – a build-up of mineral salts, rust, and corrosion can make your hot water heater less efficient. Check the valve by raising and lowering the test lever a few times. Hot water should flow readily. If you get more of a trickle than a gush, the valve may need to be replaced.
- Review your home's exterior – cast a critical eye around the outside of your home looking for weathered paint work, areas of poor drainage, chipped paving or cracked window panes. Take early action if you come across minor issues.
- Give the garden a makeover – grab a box trailer, load it up with any dead plants, broken pots or fence palings, and take a trip to the tip. Keep an eye out for shoots and suckers that can weasel their way into foundations or cracks in your home's exterior walls, they can cause long term damage.
Don't forget to service your home loan too. Your Mortgage Choice broker can provide a free home loan health check that will let you know for sure whether your loan is still the best option for your needs.
To give your home loan an annual service, call Mortgage Choice on 13 77 62.