Home Property Poorly maintained homes can fall foul of winter and harm insurance claims

Poorly maintained homes can fall foul of winter and harm insurance claims

by LLP Staff Reporter
9th Nov 22 4:53 pm

Winter is knocking on the door bringing with it heavy rain, frosts and storms, which can all wreak havoc on your home.

According to the Association of British Insurers last winter’s storms resulted in a whopping 169,500 claims relating to property damage.

However, making a successful claim for damage can be challenging if your home is poorly maintained with home insurance policies usually insisting properties are ‘well maintained’.

Therefore, staying on top of household jobs over winter is essential. MyJobQuote’s property and construction expert Thomas Goodman says it’s not just about preparing for the worst on the exterior of your home, but also some internal home maintenance and chores that are always on the bottom of the ‘to do’ list.

Goodman has advised on some home maintenance and cleaning jobs everyone can do this winter.

Carry out exterior checks

Due to the harsh weather, it’s a good idea to carry out regular checks of your home’s exterior. But don’t worry, you don’t need any expert skills or even a ladder to do this.

Thomas explained: “A pair of binoculars is all you need to give the roof a good visual inspection. This way it’s easy to spot things like slipped tiles. The easiest way to check gutters are functioning properly is to nip out while it’s raining and look for obvious signs of blockages, breaks and leaks.”

Wooden doors can be problematic during winter, so it’s worth checking that they open, close and lock easily. It’s a good idea to expand your checks right into the garden. Have a look around for issues such as rotten tree branches and unstable fencing.

Clean the drains

One of the most ignored household jobs must be cleaning the drains. From the bathroom and kitchen sinks to the drains outside your home, winter is a great time to give them a good clean.

Thomas says: “Outside drains will be under extra pressure as rainfall increases. So, it’s important to clear them of leaves and other debris from the garden. You’ll find that fitting guards will help to keep them from getting blocked.”

Regular treatment with an enzyme-based drain cleaner or hot water and soda crystals will prevent grease, soap scum and hair building up. Many people see an increase of guests to the home over the festive season.

So, keeping the plugholes clean will keep bathrooms and kitchens smelling nice. To prevent a build-up of bacteria, you can use a commercial cleaner, a homemade vinegar and baking soda solution or a long and flexible drain-cleaning brush.

Give your windows some love

Thanks to the winter weather, windows tend to get grubby very quickly. So, they’ll need a bit more attention than usual. And giving them a regular clean will maximise the ability for winter sunlight to reach inside your home. But it’s not just the glass that need attention.

Thomas recommends: “Opening the windows, then vacuuming and wiping over seals and mechanisms to keep them in good condition.”

Taking down curtains and replacing them with thicker curtains will help you stay warm and gives you chance to give those summer curtains a wash or dry clean.

Improve your ventilation

As the weather is cold, we tend to keep our windows closed and the central heating on. This traps in moisture and prevents a good flow of air through your home. And this can lead to all sorts of problems, including condensation, mould and damp. So, winter is the ideal time to spot and resolve these issues.

Thomas advises: “Make sure air bricks and vents are clear and not blocked up and check in the loft space. If condensation is a problem there, you may need to get roof vents added so it doesn’t damage your timbers.”

Adding extractor fans in the kitchen and bathroom will also help to prevent excess moisture causing problems. If you already have extractor fans, now’s a great time to give them a clean and renew the filters.

Deep-clean the kitchen

While you’re spending more time indoors, it offers a great opportunity to tackle some of those deep-cleaning jobs, with the kitchen at the top of your list. As kitchens are in daily use and they’re where we prep and cook food, they can always benefit from a thorough clean.

Appliances will last longer if they’re looked after. So, it’s worth taking the time to descale kettles and coffee makers, clean ovens and microwaves, and defrost and wipe out fridge-freezers.

Clear out and wipe around your cupboards, not forgetting the doors and handles. Organise the food inside by grouping items together. And move packets and tins with shortest best before dates to the front.

Thomas adds: “You may noticed some of your cupboard doors aren’t closing properly or don’t look level. Most kitchen cupboard hinges are adjustable, so grab a screwdriver and use that to tweak and tighten them.”

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