Top tips to keep your home healthy

It's not just humans that need a bit of tender loving care every now and then - you're home is your castle, so you should treat it like one.

Here are a few top tips to ensure your property keeps in good working order - call it a health check for your home.

“If you go away on holiday in winter, keep your heating on - albeit turned down - while you’re away. This keeps the system running efficiently and helps to prevent pipes from freezing,” says Karl Tulloch from Rightio, which provides home repairs and services throughout the UK. Some boiler controls have a holiday mode, which shuts some, but not all of the central heating system off. Alternatively, you may be able to programme the heating to come on briefly twice a day; keep your normal settings, but turn down the radiator valves; or turn the heating on and off remotely when you want with a smart controller.

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“It’s essential that gutters are cleared of silty build-ups, plants, leaves and other detritus,” says Tulloch. “Even a small build-up of mud can prevent water from flowing freely and if water can’t escape through the guttering, it will only go one way - into the house, causing damp.”

Drains and manholes can get blocked, but some build-ups aren’t bad enough to block them and yet still prevent them from working properly. For example, some cooking oil and fats can harden in pipes and freeze in winter, eventually causing blockages (instead, pour them into a jar or tin, leave to harden and then put in the bin).

Chipped, cracked and flaking paint on wooden doors, windows and sills can let in water, which eventually causes rot.

If the wood’s already suffering from wet rot, scrape out the worst of it, treat the rest with a wood-hardening liquid designed for wet rot, and fill with exterior wood filler.