Preventative Maintenance for your Property

(Our Manly – June 2010)

Maintaining your car with regular services ensures it remains at its optimum. We can generally plan for expenses such as new tyres and of course the cost of the service, but without regular servicing we run the risk of unexpected expenses.

Just like a car, your property needs regular preventative maintenance to ensure it remains in optimum working condition. Without it your car may not function as it should and let you down when you need it most. Your property is much the same.

A preventative maintenance plan for your property will reduce the risk of “breakdowns” which can potentially cost you time and money. If your property is used for business, the inconvenience you encounter and potential loss of business could be expensive and damaging.

It doesn’t have to be a costly exercise; in fact, it can be a plan you put in place yourself or something you develop with a professional tradesperson. Often a visual inspection can prevent or minimise problems occurring. However, for peace of mind, it is always best to consult a licenced tradesperson.

DIY plan

Every 6-12 months you should implement your own preventative maintenance strategies.

  1. Locate your water meter and ensure it is visible and not covered by dirt or other debris. Check the water meter can shut down the water supply to the property. Don’t forget to turn it back on once you have tested.
  2. Inspect your property for pools of water or damp soil as this could be an indication of a burst pipe, blockage or poor drainage.
  3. Inspect gutters and downpipes (if possible during rainfall) for leaks and to ensure water is flowing freely.
  4. Inspect all hose cocks (garden taps) around your property to ensure they aren’t dripping and are shut off correctly.
  5. Inspect all inside taps (bathroom, kitchen, laundry) for leaks or water staining within the sink/vanity cabinets.
  6. If you have rain water tanks, you should arrange annual servicing of the tanks’ pumps.
  7. Release the safety valve on your hot water heater (storage tanks), by referring to your Manufacturer’s Instructions.
  8. Washing machine hoses should be turned off after use to prevent water damage in case of a burst pipe.
  9. Visually inspect points of attachment (where power lines attach to your dwelling) and ensure they are secure i.e. brackets aren’t bent or loose.
  10. Visually inspect external power points and light switches (without removing the cover) for any damage and ensure they are secured to the wall.
  11. Test your smoke alarm is functioning correctly and replace your smoke alarm battery annually.
  12. Test RCDs (safety switch) in your switchboard by pushing the test button.

Consult your tradesperson

For further assurance, employ qualified tradespeople to conduct a full safety inspection of your property. By scheduling regular preventative maintenance with your tradespeople your property will benefit and costs will be minimised. Two key areas that would benefit from professional preventative maintenance are your drains and hot water heaters.

1. Drain Maintenance (stormwater and sewer)

Once you have had your drain cleared it is unfortunately only a matter of time before it re-blocks. If you are lucky it could be years, but for some, it is only a matter of months. By having your drains inspected and/or cleared annually you can eliminate potential issues before they become a major problem. Regular maintenance also reduces the time it takes to clear a fully blocked sewer or stormwater line. It is more likely that serious damage may have taken place and increase the likelihood of excavation and pipe repairs or renewal if pipes are left until they are completely blocked.

By scheduling regular drain maintenance, your plumber develops a history and understanding of your drainage which in the long term will save you time and money. Plus you can be certain that your drains are clear and won’t block at the most inconvenient time.

Hot water heaters

To gain a longer life for your hot water heater, it is recommended a licenced plumber conduct regular inspections of your tank. Valves should be inspected to ensure they are functioning correctly. The sacrificial anode (which acts as a barrier to protect your tank from rusting internally) should be inspected and replaced at least once in the lifetime of the heater. Your plumber will also activate your safety valve (which should be done every 6 months). They will also inspect the Pressure and Temperature Relief Valves, which must be changed every 5 years (as advised by manufacturer’s specifications).

Although a preventative maintenance program is not something most people think of having in place, it is definitely worth consideration as it could save you time, money and a lot of unnecessary stress! Whether you follow our DIY suggestions, or employ a qualified tradesperson, preventative maintenance will help keep your property functioning correctly.

General Advice Disclaimer: Every home is different and this general advice may not be suitable to your specific circumstances. Please consider whether this general advice is suitable for you. In the case of any reasonable doubt we recommend that you seek our expert advice about your specific circumstances before acting on the general advice set out above.