Home maintenance tips to help you look after your greatest asset

Last updated on Dec 15, 2022 
Often when we think about why we need insurance, we think of large-scale events like storms, fires, or floods. However, there are some smaller events that can potentially cause damage to your home, and are, unfortunately, far more common. Two of the most common causes of water damage to homes are poorly maintained roofing and broken flexi hoses.

While these events are common, they may also be preventable with regular home maintenance. Knowing what to check for and what to do about potential issues can be daunting, especially if you’re a first-time buyer or have moved from a unit to a house.

We’ve compiled some tips that may assist in reducing the risk of damage to your home and can also help you check that everything’s working as efficiently as possible.

A professional can assist you with the common maintenance tasks below to help reduce the risk of damage to your home. Watch the videos to learn more.

Keeping your roof in good condition can help reduce water penetration that can lead to damaged walls and, in some cases, mould, peeling ceiling paint and leakage. With weather events like La Niña causing heavy rainfall, monitoring your roof is especially important. It’s a good idea to schedule an annual roof maintenance check-up with roofing professionals and arrange any repairs.
Remove leaves and other debris from your home’s gutters at least once a year. A gutter can become the perfect nesting place for pests if leaves and twigs are available for them to use. Leaving a gutter unchecked can lead to your home also housing birds or becoming the perfect place for an insect infestation. Blockages can also reduce the lifespan of your gutters and cause extra stress on the roof, so it’s a good idea to check and clean them regularly. 
Make sure your roof tiles are in good condition with no cracks or damage, and that they haven’t slipped. It may be hard to spot damage to roof tiles as issues can range from hairline fractures to mould eating away at their structural integrity. However, a leaking roof means you should call in roofing professionals as soon as possible. Australian weather can be unpredictable, so make sure you monitor your roof tiles during or after hail and storms as these will be higher risk periods for damage. If your house is near trees, look for any debris that may have fallen onto your roof and could cause cracks. Don’t ever attempt a repair during wet weather, hail, or storms, as the roof will be slippery and unsafe. Hire a roofing professional to check your roof once a year and arrange any repairs.
Ridge capping is where two surfaces of your roof meet and it plays a crucial role in keeping your home dry. It needs to be in place and in good condition, with the capping covering both sides of the roof line. This also includes the mortar holding it in place, which can either crack or break down all together. Catching any issues with ridge capping at the start can help reduce the effects.
Lastly, your roof flashing needs to be intact and in good condition. Like ridge capping, the mortar caulking that holds the metal flashing in place can crack or break down and may require recaulking. Other issues to check for are cracked metal or screws which have loosened over time or come out entirely. If you notice these issues, it’s important to call a roofing professional and arrange for repairs to be made as soon as possible. Whether your roof has valley flashing or step flashing, it should still be working correctly and keeping your roof airtight.

Flexi hoses, also known as flexi pipes, are rubber tubes wrapped in braided steel. You’ll typically find them under the sinks in kitchens, laundries, and bathrooms. They may be hidden but shouldn’t be forgotten as a damaged flexi hose can leak up to 1,500 litres of water an hour, causing significant damage. This is because once the braided steel layer breaks, the rubber will rupture and burst. Flexi hoses can be fairly cheap to replace, but it’s important to get a plumber’s help to make sure the flexi hose has been installed properly. Below are some common things to watch out for with your flexi hoses. 
Flexi hoses should be free of rust and corrosion, so make sure you check the body of the hose as well as the connections at either end. Rust may indicate that the rubber inner lining of the hose has ruptured and is slowly leaking water, or that chemicals also stored in the space are leaking onto the hose. Either way it should probably be replaced by a plumber.
Check either side of the flexi hose to make sure there’s no sign of fraying. Most flexi hoses have an expiry date, and instances of fraying can increase as they age. Even if the flexi hose you’ve bought has been sold as “fray proof”, it will probably be just as susceptible. Once fraying starts, the rubber tube has less resistance as water flows through and it will most likely burst.
Make sure your flexi hose is installed correctly and isn’t too short. This means no kinks or twists, nor should the hose be forced into an awkward position, and there should be slack between connections. Adding slack can reduce stress on the connections and the chances of bursting, while an incorrect installation can reduce its lifespan.
Check the full length of the hose as well as the lowest point of the bend for small leaks or drops of water. Leaks can also come from the connectors on either side if it hasn’t been installed correctly. Amateurs may screw the nuts on either side incorrectly, leading to slight leaks that will slowly corrode the steel braiding over time.

While it may be tempting to keep all your cleaning products under the sink, this may be the last place they should be if you want to avoid a flexi hose bursting. The chemical environments under sinks are often known as “fume cupboards” and can cause the flexi hose to corrode. As hot water runs through the taps, the cupboards can become humid. Chlorine, which is found in many cleaning products, can mix with the humidity to make highly corrosive hydrochloric acid. You might consider keeping your cleaning products somewhere else, just in case.

Hire a licenced plumber to inspect your flexi hoses regularly to make sure they’re fit for purpose and meet relevant building standards. Flexi hoses will often have the expiry date listed on the collar. Your plumber can arrange and fit any necessary replacements.

Keeping on top of home maintenance should be on every homeowner’s schedule. Fitting home maintenance tasks into your overall routine may not only help save you money in the long run but could also reduce the stress and inconvenience caused by a leaking roof or burst flexi hose. To help you keep your home well maintained, we’ve developed the following checklists:

Roof maintenance checklist (PDF, size 2.9 MB)

Flexi hoses maintenance checklist (PDF, size 754 KB)

For more information on how we can help you with your home insurance, please contact our team.

This article has been prepared by Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL234708 (“Allianz”). In some cases, information has been provided to us by third parties and while that information is believed to be accurate and reliable, its accuracy is not guaranteed in any way.

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