Summer maintenance at home

(By Bertus Visser, Chief Executive of Distribution, PSG Insure)
Summer is just around the corner, bringing warm, dry weather to parts of the country and the rainy season to others. It’s a good time of year to address some summer maintenance on your property. Ongoing maintenance will reduce future repair costs, and possible insurance claims.
Protect yourself against water damage

Some of the most common insurance claims come from leaks – be they from worn roof tiles or from geysers. Those of you who have seen the end of the rain would have identified any existing leaks. Those anticipating the rain should prepare to avoid leaks, but take note of any leaks that do arise.
Start by adequately waterproofing your home

Check your roof, outside surfaces and walls. Replace fractured or broken roof tiles or slates, and fill any cracks in concrete. Use an appropriate sealant to seal off repairs and always apply good quality waterproof paint to repaired surfaces.

Clear your gutters. Clean gutters that run freely are vital in wet weather. You could also consider installing PVC or aluminium gutters if you currently have asbestos guttering (generally found on older properties). Asbestos gutters are prone to recurring leaks. PVC or aluminium gutters offer better quality, and generally do not need to be replaced.

Paint and repair rusty fixtures. Use additives that neutralise rust and maintain fixtures by keeping them well lubricated. 

Also consider internal water damage

The high acidity in our water can corrode pipes, but there are some preventative measures you can take to avoid costly water damage:

Ask a plumber to check the pipes in your home. If they are corroded, consider a once-off replacement, as opposed to the ongoing costs of smaller repairs. This will also help to avoid high costs or claims for water damage.

Have your geyser checked. Does it have a drip tray? If not, have this installed as it is essential if your geyser bursts.

Maintain your geyser. Geysers tend to last for a good number of years, but you can replace certain parts annually to increase their lifespans. These include the sacrificial anode, vacuum breakers, the pressure reducing valve, the temperature and pressure safety valve, and the drip tray.

Keep an eye on your water usage. Installing an inexpensive water usage monitor can help to detect leaks early.

Be safe outdoors

The warmer months are often spent outdoors. Be safe by making sure you have adequate security features in place when it comes to your pool or braai. Installing a fence around your pool or a safety net makes it safer for small children. It can also help to avoid accidents that may trigger liability claims, such as guests falling in and injuring themselves or damaging expensive accessories.
When it comes to a braai, make sure you extinguish fires properly – an unforeseen fire can cause extensive damage to your property, particularly if your garden is drier than usual. Now is also a good time to cut away old branches on trees and bushes that may be fire hazards, or overhang your roof.
Finally, once you have done your needed maintenance… Have a safe and happy, claim-free summer.

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