When you first move into a new home, the list of tasks you need to get through can seem never ending...and we’re going to give you another one; sorry about that! Home safety checks are, however, vitally important, yet many homeowners fail to give their new property the once over when they first move in.
While the likelihood of coming across anything untoward is extremely low, not finding out soon enough can be extremely costly - both financially and emotionally. We’re not trying to scare anyone here, but home safety checks can literally save lives, and they’ll only take you a couple of minutes to complete when you first move in.
1. Check your detectors
All homes should have both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in place these days, but you’d be surprised by how many of these are actually worthless due to lack of maintenance. Most fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors will have a test button that’ll let you know whether or not the battery is good, so give each a press to make sure.
It’s also worth checking their positioning while you have them on your mind. Houses should have at least one on each level and flats should have theirs centrally positioned. That being said, the London Fire Brigade recommends that you have one in every room that is in regular use, especially those with electrical equipment that is left switched on.
2. Ensure your front door is up to scratch
Checking your front door may seem a little odd, but it could save you money and even help prevent burglars gaining easy access to your home. Many people do not realise that front doors are built differently to those which you find inside the home, so they often fit them to the exterior by mistake. Others may fit them simply to save money.
Exterior doors are far sturdier and will also help keep the heat where you want it, inside your home. Modern interior doors are usually hollow, so not only will they offer minimal insulation, they’ll also prove inadequate as barriers to entry should someone try to force their way into your property. If you suspect that you front door isn’t what it should be, make changing it a priority.
3. Give your windows a once over
Similarly, windows are another important thing to check when you first move in, especially those on the ground floor. Make sure they open and close properly and that they are securable when shut. Look out for any signs of damage, both inside and out, and check for any defects.
Windows are a common access point for burglars, so make sure all of your latches work correctly and that your windows sit properly in their frames. Cheaper uPVC windows can warp and leave gaps which provide an easy point for forced entry, while wooden window frames can rot and make access as simple as removing the glass pane.
4. Look at your locks
Another high priority job should be changing the locks. There’s no easier way to gain entry to a property than to have the keys and, let’s face it, there’s no way of knowing who has a set when you take over a new property.
Previous owners may have given a spare to any number of people, from neighbours to relatives, tradesmen to babysitters, anyone could have immediate access to your home, so it’s well worth the expense of getting your locks changed as soon as possible.
5. Get familiar with the electrics
Finding your fuse box as soon as you move in is another great tip. Most electrical circuit boxes are fairly standard, but if you’re moving into an older property you may find a somewhat different layout with which you’ll want to get acquainted.
Take a look at all of the wall sockets as well. Make sure none of them are loose and double-check to see if any remain in the skirting boards (something common in homes built in the 1930s). This should have been picked up by your surveyor, but if you didn’t have one conducted you might want to get an electrician in to take a look at your home’s wiring to be on the safe side.
6. Examine your pipework
Another quick check that could save a lot of hassle later on is to take a look at any exposed pipework you may find in and around your home. Look out for telltale red flags such as corrosion, rust stains, and any other signs of leakage. If you spot something you don’t like the look of, call a plumber and have them run an inspection. Preventative action could save you a tidy sum in the long run.
While you are looking over your pipework, be sure to locate your stopcock too. Check to make sure it isn’t seized or jammed as well...you don’t want to find that out when you’re desperate to shut off your water supply!
7. Plan an escape route
Our final point may seem overly dramatic, but it could well be the most important of all. Knowing which way you’ll leave the property in advance can save moments of panic should an emergency arise, and many safety experts advise homeowners to think of two ways to exit each room.
Owners of ground floor flats won’t have too much trouble in this regard, but others may require a little more thought. Check to see if your new home has any ways of exiting other than the conventional method and consider putting plans in place if it doesn’t.
That’s it! Our seven home safety checks everyone should make when they move home is complete. If you are looking to buy a new home in Wanstead, Buckhurst Hill, or any of their surrounding areas, give our friendly team a call. We’d love to hear from you.