Giving your home an MOT

4 minute read

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Blocked drain pipes, broken boiler or faulty smoke alarm? These tips can help keep your home running smoothly. Get started with a home MOT.

  • Plan for bad weather and possible flooding by putting up temporary flood defences, fixing down outdoor ornaments and moving valuables upstairs.
  • Prevent your heating breaking down during winter by keeping it running on a low temperature and getting it serviced annually by a registered engineer.
  • Keep valuables out of sight through your windows during the day. Install new doors and windows with high-quality locks to protect yourself from and deter burglars. 

Prepare for bad weather

Storms and bad weather don’t just disrupt your daily commute and weekend plans. They can also take it out on your home. By making practical preparations around your home, you can be prepared:

  • Clear gutters and drains of leaves – if heavy rainfall is expected, make sure water can drain away properly by clearing gutters
  • Check your roof tiling is secure – get a professional roofer to inspect your roof. Damaged, missing or loose tiles can cause serious damage in high winds
  • Secure loose objects in your garden – Wind can play havoc with your garden furniture and ornaments – move them indoors or secure them
  • Cut back branches – branches or trees in your garden can cause damage in storms. Cut them back to reduce the chances

Plan ahead for flooding

Flooding is becoming more common in certain parts of the country and can cause immense damage to your home. However, you can plan ahead if there are flood warnings in your neighbourhood. To help prevent severe losses:

  • Put up flood defences before bad weather arrives – you can find sandbag-like products to block your home’s doors and entrances
  • Keep an eye out for flood warnings – this will help you decide whether more drastic preventative measures are necessary
  • Move all your valuables upstairs– move all your tech goods, small kitchen appliances and even furniture if possible, to higher ground
  • Clear your garden of heavy ornaments – water can cause heavy items to damage other parts of your home. Move them elsewhere if you can

Maintain your central heating 

Central heating is a vital home comfort. A few simple maintenance tasks can help keep you warm through the winter year after year:

  • Service your boiler annually – use a registered Gas Safe engineer to check your gas central heating, or OFTEC-registered engineer for oil-fired heating
  • Lag your pipes to protect against freezing – buy ready-made lagging that can fit around water pipes to insulate them from the cold
  • Keep heating on low during winter nights – prevent your central heating pipes from freezing by turning your heating on a low setting during the night
  • Bleed your radiators – letting the air escape your radiators from time to time can help ensure the water heating them circulates properly and keeps your home warm

Don’t make it easy for burglars

Burglars are opportunistic and will look for any route into your home. You can secure your property by always locking your windows and doors – along with a couple of other steps:

  • Upgrade your doors and window frames – old, flimsy doors and windows are a magnet for burglars. Replace them with high-security units that use top-quality locks
  • Hide your valuables when you leave the house – never leave things like your tablets, jewellery and laptops in plain sight during the day when you head to work
  • Keep keys out of sight – car, home or garage keys left close to a letterbox are in prime position to be stolen. Keep them out of sight or locked away in a safe box
  • Install motion sensors and CCTV – motion-sensitive lights flick on if there is an intruder. Combine this with CCTV so you can see whether any burglars are around your home

Look after your home appliances

There’s nothing worse than coming home to find an appliance out of action. The risk of appliances range from the annoyance of having to buy a new one to the danger of electrical fires so it’s good to follow this best practice: 

  • Don’t overload extension plugs – plugging in too many devices at once can increase the risk of fire and damage to your appliances
  • Fit and regularly check your smoke alarms – it’s essential you have at least one smoke alarm for each storey of your home – especially near your kitchen. Test them frequently too
  • Use safe outdoor plug sockets – if you’re using wired gardening equipment, make sure you install sockets with a circuit breaker, in case you accidentally cut through it
  • Turn off appliances when you’re not using them – don’t risk damaging your expensive tech. Turn off electronics when they’re not in use to prevent overheating and damage

While you’re giving your home a once over, why not double-check your house cover protects everything and get a quote for home insurance?

 

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All content is approved by our in-house advisory board of experts.