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My home, my castle

1. Clean your gutters.

It’s a reality of the great Australian dream – if you own a house, you’re probably going to have to get out the ladder and clean out the gutters from time to time. How often? That depends on how many trees you have close to the house, and the type of guttering you have.

When debris from surrounding trees falls into your gutters, it can cause blockages and failures during heavy rain, or cause damage to the guttering itself. It also increases the danger to your home in the case of bushfire, as leaf litter in the gutters can easily catch alight.

2. Fix the drips.

A dripping tap can waste around 2,000 litres a month, and a running toilet even more. If you’ve noticed your water usage on your bills increasing unexpectedly, or your water meter keeps moving even when everything is turned off, it’s time to do some maintenance.

Depending on the problem, it may be fixed with a new washer or simple repair. If you’re not confident, call the plumber in or check with your water provider for problems with the pipes that bring water to your home.

3. Scrub the decks.

By its nature, outdoor decking is generally exposed to the elements, which means it needs regular maintenance to remain in good condition.

Sun and rain can damage the wooden decking boards and lead to unsafe rot – eventually requiring the whole deck to be replaced. So around once a year, clean your deck then check it carefully for damage. Replace any rotting boards, then apply a stain or decking oil to protect it and keep it looking great.

4. Get a pest inspection.    

The thought of termites, or white ants, is enough to send chills down the spine of every homeowner. These tiny creatures with a taste for wood have the ability to eat your home from the inside out.

The damage they cause can be hard and expensive to repair, is rarely covered by your home insurance, and can make your home near impossible to sell. So it’s important to get regular pest inspections to make sure that you can nip any termite activity in the bud.

5. Check your fire alarms.

This is such an easy and inexpensive job, yet many homeowners fail to check that their fire alarms are in good working order – potentially putting their lives at risk.

Check each alarm in your home every month by pressing the test button (with a broom if needed). Vacuum around the alarm and spray with insect spray to stop creatures nesting in it, and replace the batteries at least once a year – when you change back from daylight saving, or any day you’ll remember. And if your fire alarms are more than 10 years old, it’s a good idea to replace them altogether.

As with all house maintenance, only do the jobs that you feel competent to do. While the internet has plenty of tutorials available for common maintenance tasks, there’s also a lot that can go wrong. If in doubt, call a professional to make sure the job is done right.

 

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