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Home Living : June 1st 2010
HLN - HOME LIVING: NORTH, Tuesday, June 1, 2010 5 Give your home a full check-up » ADVERTISING FEATURE HOMELIVING Homeowners have been warned not to ignore basic home maintenance problems, which can become costly and affect the value of their home and, in some cases, place family members in danger. David Hallett, Victorian state manager of Archicentre, the building advisory service of the Australian Institute of Architects, said failure to undertake basic home maintenance could lead to costly repair bills. Mr Hallett said problems with drainage in winter -- the condition of roofs, guttering, downpipes and stormwater drains -- could top the damage-causing list. ''People should check their gutters and any stormwater drainage pits for blockages and the perimeter of the house for rubbish build-up that can prevent water draining away and lead to flooding. Homeowners in low-lying areas should consider excavating some trenches around potential water-entry points to ensure no water enters the house,'' he said. ''The roof often escapes the scrutiny of the homeowner as it is out of sight. Water pouring down the walls or a section of plaster collapsing is often the first indication that there is a problem. People who put off fixing leaks could be putting themselves and families at risk, especially if the water is likely to enter the electrical system or appliances.'' Archicentre has released the following winter tune-up tips: Make sure the guttering is clear of debris. Consider installing a gutter protection barrier so leaves and debris can blow off the guttering. Ensure downpipes flow into the stormwater drain or the rainwater tank system, not under the home. Have the roof checked and repair any broken tiles or slates, and look for loose iron and flashing leaks to avoid leaks into the home. Check roof entry points for flues for internal heaters. Ensure flues and chimneys are clear of soot and debris that may cause fire. Check under and around the exterior of the house for any excessive dampness or water pooling. Check for sub-floor dampness as well, as it can attract termites. In particular, look for leaks under bathrooms, kitchens and laundries. In the garden, check for any slippery, mossy, damp steps, pathways or driveway areas likely to cause hazards. Inside, check for any mould spots on interior walls, which could show a sign of dampness in the home, particularly bathrooms and laundries. Have heaters and central heating systems undergo a regular annual maintenance check. Clean filters and vacuum dust from heaters. Ensure that open fires have a heavy- duty fire screen to prevent sparks and burning logs rolling out of the fire onto the floor and igniting the floor or carpet. Make sure that the clothes dryer's lint filter is cleaned after each use. 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