Annual Maintenance to Protect Your Home

Below are seven things to consider doing around the house this autumn mitigate the risk of damage to your property as winter approaches.





Autumn is most definitely on our doorstep as the temperature starts to drop and it is this time of the year that homeowners need to pay attention to ensuring their property is protected. Here are seven things to consider doing around the house this autumn to prevent or reduce the possibility of damage to a residence as the colder months of the year arrive.





1. Gutters

With trees and large shrubs starting to loose their foliage, fallen leaves and debris easily accumulate in the gutters and downspouts around a property and lead to blockages that reduce or prevent rainwater from flowing freely. You need to avoid this from happening as it can result in water damage to the structure of a house that ultimately leads to expensive repairs if walls, floors or ceilings are damaged. Every homeowner should set aside the time necessary to check and clean gutters regularly.





2. Branches and trees

We are all aware that autumn is associated with strong winds and the possibility of unexpected storms increase the risk of downing branches and trees. This raises the risk of broken windows or roof tiles, and perhaps even structural damage. Take a walk around your property to identify any potential hazards, and see whether tall trees, long branches and large shrubs need a pre-winter trim.





3. Fireplaces

A fireplace is a wonderfully warm and welcoming gathering place during the colder months, but it also exponentially increases the fire risk to your home. A house fire can start quickly and spread rapidly, causing serious damage to property, and loss of life to pets and people. Take extra care to reduce these risks by ensuring that fire alarms are working correctly, thinking about the type of furniture and furnishings you place close to your fireplace, devising a fire-safety plan, and trimming overgrown vegetation in the garden. After using the fireplace, ensure that embers are completely extinguished before you leave it unattended or when you retire for the night..







4. Roof tiles

In South Africa, we experience storms with high winds that can damage roof tiles and compromise the integrity of your roof. This situation should be avoided at all costs as it would let water and dirt accumulate in the roof cavity. BetterBond CEO Carl Coetzee explains, “This type of damage can lead to significant problems. Water that collects in the ceiling can result in mold and mildew growth, which can cause health problems for those living in the home, and result in structural damage or unsightly stains on a ceiling, as well as rotting support beams. Maintaining your roof is vital, so as a homeowner, consider having your roof inspected professionally and make sure that the necessary repairs are done before the winter weather sets in.”





5. Home security

As daylight hours shorten during the winter months, your home is more appealing to would-be burglars and theives. Regularly inspect any home-security systems and physical barriers such as security gates and burglar bars, to make sure that everything is in good working order. With crime an ongoing and ever-increasing problem, it is always a good idea to look at how you can add measures like wireless security cameras, sensor lights, and additional security on doors.

Make sure all outdoor lights on your property are working, as a well-lit exterior is a strong deterrent to crime. Areas that are worth giving extra attention to, are walkways, the route to your garage or car, and directly above your front door or entrance. Coetzee adds, “With all the current load shedding we are experiencing, solar lights are a great solution for outdoor security and will ensure that the exterior lighting on your property stays on during load shedding.”







6. Power outages

Load shedding is predicted to increase this winter, so make sure you are prepared with everything from flashlights and batteries, to a back-up generator or UPS, helping to keep essential things running even when the power is not. If your budget allows, switching to solar isn’t just a sound investment that provides relief from load shedding, but it will also increase the value of your property over time and therefore bolster your resale value.

According to Matthew Cruise, Head of Business Intelligence, Hohm Energy, your decision to take action and install solar not only guarantees you energy independence but may contribute to helping Eskom balance its expense sheet so that it can afford to complete projects to solve the country’s energy crisis.





7. Insurance

“Finally, it’s essential to understand your home insurance policy and how it may be impacted by autumn in South Africa,”advises Coetzee. “Depending on your policy, you could be covered for certain risks, like theft, but not for others, like flood or fire damage. Read through any policy documents you have and discuss any concerns with your insurance provider to ensure you have adequate coverage,” he concludes.




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