Your home is your haven, but it can quickly damage your finances if wear and tear gets out of hand. From leaking pipes to busted washing machines, unexpected and unpredictable disasters within your home are very difficult to plan into your budget. Luckily, you can help to save yourself an unforeseen repair bill by following our five home maintenance tips. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure!
Don't Banish Your Boiler
Whether you grab a refreshing shower in the morning or soak in the tub after an exhausting day, hot water is a must. But, since it’s hidden away in a cupboard, neglecting the boiler that heats this water is easy.
Your boiler needs to be checked regularly to ensure that it doesn’t get damaged over time. So, rather than waiting for an impending breakdown, get it booked in for a routine service. Though this can be costly, in the long run it will save you money. Small faults will be dealt with before they develop into more serious problems, and the engineer will also check that the boiler is running as efficiently as it can be.
The average cost of a boiler service is between £50-80 for a standard, £90 for a condenser, and £80-160 for a high-efficiency boiler. Compare this to the cost of a brand new boiler with installation fees - which can be anything from £1,500 to £4,000 depending on the type you go for - and it’s clear that maintaining your boiler’s health is worthwhile.
Look After Your Loo
A recent UK study found that, on average, around 20% of all housing expense stems from home maintenance and repairs. With toilets in particular being especially prone to leaks, don’t let yours become a part of this expense! Such an incident will damage both your water bill and your bathroom floor. What’s more, it can also lead to premature damage inside the toilet itself - meaning you might have to replace the whole thing.
Let’s be honest - your loo goes through a fair bit of wear and tear every day. So to keep it in tip-top condition, frequently check whether it’s leaking. Simply add a few drops of blue food colouring to the toilet’s water tank. Leave this for a few hours (without flushing) and, if there is a blue tinge to the water in the basin of the loo, there’s a leak.
Doing this regularly can prevent leaks causing further damage - and, if you’re handy, you can even fix them yourself.
Inspect Your Washing Machine
Washing machines are easy enough to use, but failing to spot faults could lead to a hefty hit on your finances. The most common cause of a broken machine is the washer hose bursting - and unless you do some digging, this impending disaster is pretty hard to predict. But should the hose burst, the flood damage to your home can be catastrophic.
Unexpected leaks and rust are the only real telltale signs of a damaged washer hose, so keep an eye out for these. Ideally, though, you need to change it routinely once every three years. Opt for stainless steel braided hoses instead of rubber ones: these are much more durable and resistant to bursting. At around £14, they’re well worth the extra money!
Optimise Your Refrigerator
Keeping your family fuelled for the day is pretty much impossible without your fridge. The coils inside your refrigerator can get dirty easily - and once dirty, they make the generator have to work a lot harder. This can lead to problems with your fridge, which could land you with a big bill should it conk out altogether.
Luckily, keeping your fridge coils and generator in good working order is easy. Simply unplug the fridge from the wall, carefully remove the grill protecting the coils (located at the base - front or back), and wipe away any debris which has accumulated. Repeat biannually and your fridge is good to go for longer!
Safeguard Your Drains
Aside from the rancid smell and irritatingly slow water flow, a blocked drain can impact your finances too. If left, they can cause annoying issues with your kitchen and bathrooms; in worst case scenarios, they can lead to burst pipes beneath the foundations of your home.
Depending on the severity of the blockage, the cost of clearing it varies: generally, you’ll pay around £90 for a standard unblock, and £145 for a mechanical unblock (i.e. a deeper rooted blockage). Repairs to burst drains, however, could cost you substantially more.
However, this could be avoided altogether. To help safeguard bathroom drains, purchase a hair sieve. This helps to catch hair as it is washed into the drain, enabling you to bin it easily when you clean. For kitchen drains, purchase a strainer which sits in the plug. This efficiently catches food waste as you rinse plates!
And remember - never, ever pour thick, waxy substances down drains! These are exceptionally difficult to remove, and will clog up your pipes fast.
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