It’s easy to remember to vacuum the carpets and clean surfaces and windows. But even if our homes are sparkling on the surface, there can be some deeper issues we often forget to address. And these can quickly build up and cause serious damage to a home.
1. Neglecting your gutters will damage a home
Think you can leave cleaning your gutters again until next winter? Think again! Yes, it might be a hassle and a dirty chore, but leaving leaves and debris to accumulate in your gutters will clog them. If this happens, water can overflow. This can cause external flooding. Or, worse, lead to internal water damage.
Have your gutters cleaned out professionally if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself. And consider installing a covered gutter system. Experts recommend cleaning your gutters at least twice a year: once in late spring and once in late summer/early autumn. Although if your home is surrounded by trees and foliage, you might need to clean them more regularly.
2. Letting moisture build up will damage a home
Investigate any excess dampness in your home. Effects can take hold, not suddenly, but over time. Damp homes promote mould and dust mites, which can cause respiratory problems.
While dehumidifiers and ventilation systems help reduce the symptoms of the problem, it’s important to track down the underlying cause of dampness. The problem may be relatively cheap and easy to fix.
Look for leaks from showers or pipes under the house, uncover vents blocked by plants, and check plumbing pipes for leaks. These are good places to start if you notice you have excessive moisture, and will prevent damage to your home.
3. Using too much water to mop floors will damage a home
Water may be effective at getting floors sparkling clean, but using too much can be an issue. Excessive amounts of water on laminate or hardwood floors can cause them to warp or stain. So, if you’re going to use water to clean your floors, use the minimum amount possible.
4. Ignoring cracked caulk/sealant will damage a home
Latex and acrylic caulks get the job done, but they can crack and degrade over time. Make sure you inspect your windows, doors, sinks, and anywhere else you (or the previous homeowner) have caulked in the past. And if you find any sealant that has dried up and cracked, don’t put it off, remove and replace it.
5. Forgetting about your heat pump filter will damage a home
Heating can account for over 35% of a winter power bill in New Zealand, according to Genesis Energy, and over a quarter of Kiwi households use a heat pump. Make sure to clean both your indoor and outdoor heat pump filter regularly, at least once a year, to ensure the heat pump heats to its full potential.
Cleaning the filter is a quick and easy process, unless the placement of the outside unit is tricky to get to. Neglecting to clean it can result in a faulty heating system, and can bump up your power bills, too.
If you are concerned about the cost of your power bills, it’s a good time to see whether you’re on the best plan for your household. Check out the table below for Canstar’s ratings on the electricity providers that offer the best customer satisfaction and value for money:
Canstar Blue’s latest review of NZ power companies compares them on customer satisfaction. The table below is an abridged version of our full results, available here.
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Canstar Blue NZ Research finalised in May 2019, published in June 2019.
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6. Not using furniture pads on wooden floors will damage a home
The little furniture pads that cover the bottom of your table and chair legs are a must if you have hard flooring in your home, especially if they are wooden. Scratches on laminate are impossible to repair, while repairing wooden flooring can be difficult and expensive.
7. Pouring grease down the drain will damage a home
Do not pour hot cooking grease down your drain! Oils and fats can solidify and form blockages in your pipes, creating issues for your septic system and the wider sewer system. In your home, blocked pipes can cause flooding. Let cooking oil and fat cool down, before disposing of it with the rest of your household rubbish.
8. Leaving wet towels on the floor will damage a home
Much like water puddles left after a bath or shower, a wet towel can trap moisture, causing the flooring beneath it to stain, buckle or rot. Keep good habits and make sure wet towels stay off the floor.
How do I budget for repairs if I need them?
Part of home ownership is about balancing mortgage repayments with repairs and your day-to-day living expenses. To keep on top of everything, it pays to organise your budget accordingly, and have separate bank accounts for your different expenditures.
Financial experts recommend opening a savings account and storing away enough funds to cover around three- to six-months of typical household expenses. Our story: Budgeting for Home Maintenance: Costs To Keep in Mind covers the costs you might need to prepare for in detail.
What are my options for paying for repairs?
If you already have a major maintenance issue in your home, don’t ignore it. If you don’t have an emergency fund, there are financial solutions. You could talk to your mortgage provider and enquire about refinancing to cover the cost of the repairs. You could also consider whether a personal loan might work for you.
The decision is up to you, and should only be made after thoroughly going through your finances, but Canstar is here to help. Our research can help you compare the different personal loans on the market and aid your research. For more information, click on the button below.
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