Despite the Australian Bureau of Meteorology predicting a mostly mild winter, Raine & Horne is calling for investors to perform a winter health check on their properties.
“Magazines are filled with health tips for beating the winter blues, but a winter health check on your home is just as important for protecting your investment and ensuring your family’s safety,” said chairman and CEO of Raine & Horne Angus Raine.
Fireplaces and heaters
For homes with fireplaces, the chimney should be swept at least once a year to ensure a clear passage, free from built-up soot, according to Gerard Horton, principal of the Sydney Chimney Sweep Company.
The price for an average chimney sweep and inspection can cost owners at around $220.
“This is often money well spent, as the last thing you want is a visit from the Fire Brigade responding to a fireplace that doesn’t work properly,” Mr Horton said.
For properties with gas fires, Mr Horton said owners need to make sure the flue outlet is clear from any blockages to prevent carbon monoxide from leaking.
Gas heaters should also be regularly maintained by qualified and registered professionals. Better Health Victoria recommends gas heaters to be serviced when any potential issues arise, as well as every two years before winter.
“A faulty heater can be the cause of a fire, while its fumes can also be dangerous to the inhabitants of a home,” said Mr Raine.
Whether you have a fire place or not, all homes should have a smoke detector, and as Jeremy Batten from Smoke Alarm Testing Services points out, they should be regularly tested.
“The smoke alarms in many new homes are wired into … electricity; however, this doesn’t exempt them from the need for regular check-ups, while their backup batteries also need to be regularly replaced,” said Mr Batten.
For older homes that have battery-powered smoke detectors, Mr Batten said these batteries should be replaced at least once a year.
“This means owners need to be aware that batteries should be replaced a minimum of once a year, while the sensors built into the smoke alarm can tend to fail from about the 10-year mark, but in some cases, it will be earlier than this,” he said.
Even with the focus of keeping the interiors of homes toasty warm during winter, owners should not disregard the maintenance of the outside of homes, with Mr Raine suggesting to check gutters and downpipes for leaf blockages, as well as looking out for slipped or broken roof tiles, which can all cause leaks.
“If you don’t want to get up on a ladder yourself, having a roofing specialist check everything for you will cost a few hundred dollars. It’s a good annual investment, as you can head off bigger problems, which can be expensive to repair,” Mr Raine said.
Exterior paintwork, particularly on eaves, also should be checked annually to see if it’s time to repaint.
Painted exteriors should also be updated every four to five years, and even sooner with a property near the ocean.
“While you can save money by doing it yourself, bringing in a professional house painter has the advantage that they may be able to uncover potential problems that [might not] be apparent to you,” Mr Raine added.
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