Moving into your new home is an exciting time – but while you’re choosing furniture and making the place your own, consider the maintenance jobs you might need to complete to make your home safe, secure and in complete working order.
1. Change the locks
You just never know who has a key to your new home. Whether intentional or unintentional, keys could have been left with former tradespeople, previous owners or prior tenants. Changing your locks is never a bad idea for security and peace of mind.
You never know who else has a key to your new home. Picture: Al Richardson
While you’re at it, don’t forget to change the locks everywhere not just your front and back door like on your garage, windows, gates and any alarm codes as well.
2. Clear your gutters
Don’t wait for the rainy season – check your gutters are in working order as soon as you can. Back this up with a thorough clean and ensure there aren’t any blockages in your drainage pipes or gutters.
Ensure gutters are clear and operational to avoid leaks and flooding. Picture: Al Richardson
“If your gutters and downpipes block up and the system isn’t working the way it was designed to, then you’re going to get a terrible overflow of water all around your house,” Hayden explains. “Also, that water can build up and seep into the roof space and cause leakages or create fire hazards in your roof.”
Not only will clearing gutters prevent damages in the long run, ensuring they’re not clogged is a part of what is considered “a well maintained home” in the terms of a home and contents insurance policy with Woolworths Insurance.
Moral of the story? Just make sure the guttering systems are working properly!
3. Change your flexi hoses
Flexi hoses are the plumbing connections to your water-run appliances, such as your washing machine, dishwasher, sinks and toilets. Damaged flexi hoses are also one of the top culprits for causing sudden water damage in a home.
Damaged flexi hoses are a common issue, so make sure yours are changed every five years. Picture: Al Richardson
“I had a job in Sydney where the guy had gone on holiday for three months,” Hayden says. “The house had been flooding with hot water because of a broken flexi hose for the entire time, causing up to half a million dollars worth of damage to his home.”
Flexi hoses should be replaced every five years by a licensed plumber. You can have them inspected to see if they’re in working order and get an approximate age reading. Even if they appear fine, it may be worth your while replacing them anyway so you have a starting date from which to schedule future replacements.
Record the future dates in your calendar for when the flexi hoses in your home need to be inspected or replaced to help prevent water leaking in your home. Water seepage or damage caused by wear and tear of items will not be covered by certain home and contents insurance policies, according to Woolworths Insurance.
4. Take care of problem trees
We’re not advocating chopping down or removing all your vegetation. But if you’re concerned about a large tree or overhanging branch at your new house, start to look into what is required to manage any threat to your property.
“You may be able to cut trees under four metres, but often you’ll need a permit from your local council,” Hayden says. “So, even if there’s no immediate threat, look into it and maybe apply for the permit sooner rather than later.”
Woolworths Insurance recommends you check your home insurance policy as many policies don’t cover damage caused from the lopping of trees. However, if a tree or branch suddenly falls on your home during a storm, the damage will be covered as it’s an insurable event.
To help avoid any damages or inconvenience, it’s best to eliminate any trees that may cause issues in the long run.
5. Check your smoke alarms
NSW Fire and Rescue recommends testing smoke alarms once a month, dusting and vacuuming them every six months, replacing standard batteries every year and replacing or switching to alkaline battery alarms after 10 years.
Test and clean your fire alarms as soon as you move in. Picture: Al Richardson
While not everyone will follow this guide, it is a good idea when you move somewhere new to at least test and dust your alarms to ensure they’re in tip-top shape.
Woolworths Insurance recommends you have an evacuation plan to help you and your family prepare, act and survive in the event of a fire, which is covered by home and contents insurance policy.
6. Repair cracked tiles
If you have cracked tiles inside your house, you may not give it another thought. However, they could be indicative of an issue lurking beneath the surface.
“If you’re DIY-savvy you could repair a cracked tile, but you have to look at the real cause of the problem,” Hayden explains. “Sometimes a cracked tile could be caused by a waterproofing issue – they might not have been laid correctly.”
If unsure, get a professional tiler to come in and take a look, and repair any tile as required.