Prolong the life of your home and contents
05 February 2021
Over time, everyday wear and tear will naturally deteriorate the condition of your home and contents.
As wear and tear is an everyday occurrence and inevitable, it is not covered by most insurance policies as insurance is not a maintenance contract.
To avoid damage by deterioration from becoming serious, we recommend carrying out routine inspections and maintenance of your home. Taking care of your home and fixing problems before they get worse can slow down the effects of wear and tear and help to avoid extensive repairs.
Gutters, windows and roofs
Sun, wind and rain all cause roof tiles and windows to deteriorate and rot over time. This wear can gradually let water into your property, eventually causing more extensive damage and subsequent repair bills.
- Gutters can become blocked with debris, preventing rainwater from draining safely away and instead to flow down walls eventually leading to water damage and damp.
- Cleaning gutters and downpipes on a regular basis will prevent a blockage from occurring in the first place. Unless you have the appropriate equipment and experience to do this yourself, we would highly recommend hiring a contractor to carry out this maintenance.
- Keep a close eye on your roof to monitor for signs of damage such as slipped tiles, which if not repaired can lead to water ingress into your home. Try to make repairs as soon as you see any damage. Binoculars may help if you are having trouble checking your roof.
- Take particular care to check flashings around chimneys for signs of deterioration.
- If you are replacing ridge tiles, there are new systems which provide more durable protection for your roof and better ventilation.
Please note- Ladders can be extremely dangerous so 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 guttering 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 water ingress, so action should be taken to remove the water.
- Check condition of joints, sealant and hinges for signs of wear and make repairs where possible.
- Unprotected timber is likely to swell and rot over time, a layer of paint can give wooden timber frames the protection they need from the elements. Be sure to remove as much of the previous paint as possible to avoid causing the windows to stick.
Bathrooms and Kitchens
Regular checks of your bathroom and kitchen should look for signs of wear of your sealant and grout. Weaker areas will eventually let water seep through to walls. Unfortunately, any escape of water losses or damage caused by failed or inadequate grout or sealant are not covered by Your Ecclesiastical home insurance policy.
- 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 reapplying.
- Grout helps to protect walls from water which may seep 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 an indication there may be a leak. A gradual leak can cause wooden joists to rot.
- Worn washers can cause dripping taps and enable the slow release of water over many weeks, which can be especially costly if you have a water meter. Washers are reasonably easy to replace and will avoid costly bills.
- Check pipework for fixed appliances such as washing machines and radiators for signs of bulging or cracking.
- In the event of a water leak, it’s essential to turn your water off as quickly as possible. Knowing where your stop valve is located will save vital time and help to prevent further damage.
- 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 window-sills 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 deteriorate and can become unsafe in time. Electrical problems need diagnosis from a professional, and many problems 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.
- Malfunctioning light or power switches where the switch throw does not have a clear ‘click’ can also be an indicator of deterioration.
- 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 with 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 from cyber attack.
- Delete unnecessary files or use external storage to free up space.
For answers to more common home insurance questions visit our home insurance FAQs.