A regular check-up will keep your home in good health this winter

Media release - 6th June, 2014

  • A professional roofing company will charge a few hundred dollars to clear drains and check broken tiles
  • An annual visit from a chimney sweep in Sydney will set homeowners back around $220, depending on location
  • A smoke alarm inspection provides peace of mind and at $99 per property represents an excellent investment in your family’s safety this winter

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology is predicting a mild June, July and August thanks to building El Niño conditions, yet many Australians can still expect a fair serve of cold and blustery days this winter, which will add to the wear and tear on their homes.

“The health insurance websites bombard us with tips for beating the winter blues, however it’s just as important to carry out a winter health check on your home before the mercury takes a tumble,” says Angus Raine, Chairman/CEO of leading property group, Raine & Horne.

The exterior of the home, focussing on gutters and downpipes, is often the first place to start according to Mr Raine.

“During autumn, leaves and other debris choke up the gutters and downpipes. This can lead to leaks, so it’s important that gutters and downpipes are cleared every twelve months,” says Mr Raine.

“When checking the drains, it’s also a good opportunity to look out for slipped or broken tiles, which will allow wet weather to seep into the ceilings and your home’s interior.

“To commission a roofing specialist to check drains, pipes and tiles, expect to pay a few hundred dollars, which will be money well spent, as complications on the roof have the potential to be very awkward and therefore costly to repair.”

Mr Raine advises that ignoring exterior paintwork, especially the eaves at the bottom edge of the roof, can also prove an expensive oversight.

“To ensure that exterior woodwork stands up to the rigours of winter – and summer for that matter – it’s critical that you apply a fresh coat of paint at least every four to five years, and more regularly if a property is close to the ocean,” says Mr Raine. 

“If you take a DIY approach, then it will cost only your time and a few tins of paint, although a professional house painter is also likely to uncover any potential problems that are not always apparent to the amateur tradesperson.”

The warmer winter weather will no doubt impact the sale of firewood this year, however if you’re using a wood fire, then a visit from a chimney sweep is a must.

“If you’re using a wood fire, then you should arrange to have the chimney swept at least once a year to ensure the chimney is not blocked and there is no soot build-up,” says Gerard Horton, Principal of the Sydney Chimney Sweep Company.

“For gas fires, make sure the flue outlet is not blocked or obstructed as this can prevent dangerous carbon monoxide from escaping your home.”

Mr Horton says depending on where you live, you can expect to pay $220 for a professional sweep of a chimney.

“This is often money well spent, as the last thing you want is a visit from the Fire Brigade responding to a fireplace that doesn’t work properly.”

Moving inside the property, Jeremy Batten from Smoke Alarm Testing Services (SATS) advises owners to ensure that smoke alarms are in good working order.

“The smoke alarms in many new homes are wired into the mains electricity, however this doesn’t exempt them from the need for regular checkups, while their backup batteries also need to be regularly replaced,” says Mr Batten.

At the same time, the majority of older homes in Australia have battery-operated devices, says Mr Batten.

“This means owners need to be aware that batteries should be replaced a minimum of once a year, while the sensors built into the smoke alarm can tend to fail from about the ten year mark, but in some cases it will be earlier than this.

“Whether you have one alarm or five in your property, SATS charges a smoke alarm inspection fee of $99 per property.

“As part of the review, our inspectors will clean all smoke alarms, replace batteries where required, check alarm expiry dates, verify they meet Australian standards and so on.”

Mr Raine also advises those with gas heating to have appliances regularly maintained by a qualified and registered agent. Each state and territory has a statutory body responsible for the registration of gas fitters.

“A faulty heater can be the cause of a fire, while its fumes can also be dangerous to the inhabitants of a home,” says Mr Raine.

Better Health Victoria recommends that a gas heater should be serviced immediately if there is a sign of trouble and every two years (before the winter heating season begins).

-ENDS-

For further media information contact:

Angus Raine, Executive Chairman, Raine & Horne on 0409 920 697

Andrew Harrington, National Marketing & Communications Coordinator on 02 9258 5400