What to watch out for?

Rotten wood is rarely a good thing. Even if it’s not structural, the presence of damp and rotting wood can irritate lungs and noses. Make a note of any weak wood you find. You can gently probe areas that look suspicious with something like an ice pick – softwood is a reliable indicator of both wet and dry rot. Also watch out for the tell-tale tubes left by termites, especially if you live in areas prone to them. You may also spot signs of an ant colony moving in as the weather gets colder.

Suspicious noises

Your DB board, geyser, boiler [if you have] and anything like underfloor heating, etc., shouldn’t make more noise than a soft electric hum. If you notice that noise getting louder, or any suspicious rattles, it’s time to call an electrician. Sometime light sockets will emit a faint hum when there is an electric fault, too.

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Dodgy wiring

Any visible wiring oddities need to be addressed immediately. If the work looks shoddy where you can actually see it, it’s reasonable enough to presume there will also be issues you can’t see. Treat all mis-wiring or signs of sloppy electrical work very seriously.

Prominent cracks or signs of rising damp

Some cracks are just cosmetic, whereas others can mean possible foundation shifts. Likewise rising damp can be indicative of problems in the foundation.

Knowledge is power – for the sake of an hour once a year, you can keep your home bills to a minimum and plan for trouble before it finds you.