Give your home a Health Check and save yourself Cash

If your property has the equivalent of an MOT then the risk of homeowner’s horrors such as rising damp or dry rot will be reduced dramatically.

Having to put the car through an MOT is second nature to most motorists, but if we want to make our homes future-proof and save ourselves unnecessary expense, we should be putting our properties though a similar regime each year.

That’s the view of Les Meikle, managing director of Wise Property Care. Simple steps this winter, he says, could be vital in ensuring we keep our homes healthy.

Why does a home need an MOT?

“Phrases such as rising damp and dry rot aren’t ones homeowners want to hear but there are steps we can take to reduce the risk of these" says Les.

“Most homeowners only consider the health of their home when buying and selling. But, by giving your home a regular health check, common problems can be avoided and others caught quickly before they become major issues.”

Many checks can be carried out easily, such as clearing out leaves and debris from roof gutters, hopper heads and ground level rainwater drains. After a heavy rainfall we should check gutters and down pipes to see if there are leaks or any signs of overflow.

Ensuring no moisture is leaking into homes can be vital in preventing dry rot. Making sure gutters and drains are clear can stop this happening. Take action if there is loose or crumbling external stonework, windows or doors but, points out Mr Meikle, call in a reliable tradesperson working to an approved specification. If not, you could find yourself having to have the work re-done in the future.

Removing cracked and bossed external rendering or harling and renewing it, you will ensure your home’s outside walls have coverings that are as effective as they were originally.

“Tracking problems inside and outside can seem daunting but, by breaking them down to manageable tasks and understanding the benefits, homeowners can make a real difference to their properties with a few simple steps,” says Mr Meikle.

Finding evidence of damp problems

If you find yourself stuck indoors with time on your hands take action and check to see if there are problems beginning to appear with the fabric of your home’s interior.

Look for loose seals or mastic pointings around the bath or shower. This could mean water is seeping through and giving rise to wet rot. Replacing seals and pointings can be done quickly- and inexpensively. Install extractor vents or use a dehumidifier to tackle the problem of condensation caused by everyday things like cooking or having a shower. If the condensation is allowed to continue the end result could be black mould on the inside of windows, corners of rooms and cupboards. And, in the long term, it can cause damage to plasterwork.

Perhaps you’ve never considered going below your ground floor but this could also be a good move when it comes to ensuring your home is in a healthy state.

If there is a crawl space, check to see if there is any damp earth or leaking pipes. Dealing quickly with such problems could avoid costly timber repairs.

And you could, of course, call in an expert. A home MOT carried out by Wise Property Care is £250.

“Prevention is always better than cure and this is especially true for problems in the home.” Says Mr Meikle.

“Spending time looking closely at your home or getting a professional to give it a winter health check could be the best way possible of maintaining its value.”