AMI insurance

Give your house a tune up

Give your house a tune up

A house is probably one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make. So the last thing you want to do is let it waste away. Think of your home like a car it needs regular servicing and maintenance to make sure it holds up against any wear and tear. By keeping it in good condition, you’ll help to make it hold its value while also making it more comfortable to live in.

It’s also important to maintain your home in order to maintain your insurance cover. While insurance can cover you for all sorts of unpleasant surprises, there are some types of damage that are less surprising and therefore less likely to be covered by insurance if measures could’ve been taken to fix the situation. For example you know you have a hole in your roof and if you don’t fix it quick, rain could get in.  Failure to take action to sort the problem that then results in your roof filling up with water, and collapsing, means your claim could be declined.

There are also types of damage that are inevitable, given enough time.  And it’s important to know that you might not be covered for damage that occurs gradually. This is because gradual damage can be taken care of by taking reasonable measures to maintain your property and fix any problems as they arise.

So it’s a good idea to put away 0.5% of the value of your home each year to spend on maintaining it throughout the year. It might seem like a lot, but it could save you a lot in the long run.  The good news is that most of it can be done yourself or with the help of friends.

But if you think that a job is over your head, make sure to call in some professionals. There’s nothing worse than undertaking a job that you can’t manage to finish.

Check our list below for some simple home maintenance tips.

It can be overwhelming if you lump all those jobs you want to do on your home together in one big lot. Instead, try breaking them up into smaller ones that can be done over a weekend or an afternoon.

We’ve made a list of things you can do monthly, quarterly, every 6 months, and each year. They’re really simple starting points, but it’ll put you on the right track to getting your home sorted to avoid accidents and hiccups in the future.

 

Monthly:

  • Check your HVAC filters. Translation: Home Ventilation and Air Conditioning. If your filters are dirty, either take them out and clean them (if removable) or get them fully replaced.
  • Clean your kitchen sink disposal – can be gross but it’s got to be done! An easy way to do this is to freeze vinegar into ice cubes and run them through the disposal.
  • Give your range hood filters a clean, they’ll love you for it. Range hoods attract a heap of grease and grime. Mix any ordinary degreaser with hot water and give your range hood a once over every month to stop it getting clogged up.

 

Every few months:

  • Give your smoke alarms a test. These things are here to help you. Most alarms will have a test button. If the alarm’s not working, put some new batteries in. If it’s still not working after that, chuck it out and get a new one. And if you replace the batteries regularly, you’ll never have the 3am wakeup call that almost blows your eardrums. Better yet, get long-lasting alarms with a 10 year warranty.
  • Run water through sinks and toilets that don’t get used often. This one’s pretty simple, but heaps of people don’t do it. By running some water through them, you’ll check to see if they’re still working correctly, and also will help prevent the build-up of grime. Easy.
  • Look out for rats and mice and other vermin. They can do a lot of damage – to your house and to your health.

 

Every 6 months:

  • Test out your water heater’s pressure valve. This will help prevent mineral corrosion and build-up, which in turn will protect against leaks .
  • Give your house a serious once-over. You could get a professional, but the fact is, you’re the one who lives in your home, so you’ll know every nook and cranny that needs cleaning. This is all about removing the build-up of dust, grime and dirt – no one likes that stuff anyway.
  • Clean your refrigerator coils. You’ll want to get onto this, because your fridge can account for as much as 15% of your home’s energy output. That’s a lot of cash in the long run. So to keep it running as efficiently as possible, vacuum out the coils to clear out any dust and residue – it’ll save you up to $100 a year. Easy money.
  • Fix up any damaged flooring or decking: Some of the time a loose board might just require a nail or a screw to fix it back down. Bigger jobs that could be a hazard should be tended to immediately, especially if they require getting a professional in.

 

Annual maintenance tips:

  • Tighten up latches, handles and screws. Always better to be safe than sorry. Check all your doorknobs, window latches, and handles to ensure nothing’s coming loose. This is both for security reasons as well as keeping your home draft-free.
  • Remove your shower heads and clean off any sediment or grime. Don’t be a dirty Kiwi. By doing this, you’ll help with water pressure and the prevention of corrosion.
  • Give your garage a spring clean. Because these spaces attract so much more dust, they should be cleared out once a year to keep them from running amok. Plus, it’s always good to free up some extra space. Have a garage sale while you’re at it.