Home Maintenance: Periodical Home Inspection
To keep a house in good repair is sound common sense; not only does it make the place more comfortable to live in, but it saves being faced with large bills for essential repairs after a storm, or period of bad weather, and keeps the value of the self-owned house high.
Make an inspection of the house at regular periods and it will only be necessary to deal with occasional minor repairs. Regular redecorating to protect the surfaces of brick, metal and wood is necessary to prevent damage from rust and rot, which, if neglected, may require large and expensive repairs.
Start your inspection at the top of the house; trace stains on walls and ceilings to their source. Hunt out the cause ofwhich may be the result of badly fitting doors and windows, cracked glass, damaged floor-boards or gaps between skirting and floor-boards. Inspect all plaster work, especially round mantelpieces; if there are smoky stains around mantelpieces and fires it may mean that the mantelpiece or surround is loose, or that there is a crack in the chimney-breast.
Go thoroughly through each room of the house; check electric light and power fittings, and renew worn cords and flex wherever necessary. If you are in any doubt at all about the safety of electrical appliances or get the local Electricity Board to check the installation. Make a note of any missing, loose or cracked tiles in kitchens or bathrooms; a loose tile can easily be refixed but if left too long may get broken or lost. Check water pipes, tanks and cisterns for signs of leaks or rust. Clean and oil door hinges, locks and other metal fittings. Open and close all the doors and windows in the house to see if any want easing. Doors and windows that jam may do so because of thick layers of paint on meeting surfaces. Make a special point of inspecting sash-cords and renew any that have become frayed.
Inspect the roof for damaged slates or tiles, ensure that all gutterings and downpipes are free from rubbish or birds’ nests. Examine exterior woodwork for flaking or thinning paint and see that putty round window-panes is complete. Check the pointing between the brickwork for looseness and crumbling that necessitates repointing. Examine gates, posts and fences for signs of rot near the ground and make sure outside hinges and latches are in good working order. See that drain gratings are clean and undamaged, and that air bricks have not become damaged or clogged with soil, or overgrown with plants.
Finally make a list of the repairs needed, so that none will be overlooked, and always make a point of attending to repairs before commencing any redecorating. It is wise also to have all chimneys swept at the time of inspection, and to look at some of the house fittings. Inspect all curtain rails; these sometimes get rusty and don’t run smoothly — a little olive oil will prevent this. Examine lino for small holes and worn parts; these are easily repaired while small, but if left may necessitate laying new lino. If new carpets are contemplated, check doors for clearance. You won’t want to start taking down a newly painted door. At the same time watch for signs of wear in carpets; it is often possible to turn them so as to obtain the heavy tread in another place. If stairs are carpeted watch rods or clips, to make sure they are working properly.
Check all taps to see if new washers are required, and check stocks of electric lamp bulbs and fuse wire.
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