Simple self-maintenance checks anyone can do to make your home safer

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
5 Min Read

Let’s face it – after a busy week at work or a day watching over the kids, catching up on home maintenance is one of the last tasks on most households’ agendas. 

Many Aussies choose the easy option of letting these vital home safety tasks mount up to tackle at a more convenient time, sometimes forgetting entirely thanks to the old adage “out of sight, out of mind.” 

But getting slack on specific home maintenance jobs can lead to risks that put your family’s health and safety in danger. 

A recent survey by RACV discovered only 4-in-10 Aussies rated their home as “very safe”, while nearly 60 per cent said they had fallen behind on maintaining simple home safety measures. 

RACV Head of Trades, Kieran Davies, explained that while home safety is a priority for most, many face barriers to keeping their home safety up to date.

“Around eight in ten people have faced barriers to getting home safety maintenance done,” Mr Davies said.

“The main barriers to completing home safety maintenance jobs are cost, time, and finding help to get the work done.”

Doing a home safety check is one of the best ways to regain that peace of mind about your home’s health and safety. 

That’s why Build-it has compiled this ready-to-go list of home maintenance tips so you can regain confidence in the safety of your home: 

Check your paperwork 

Review your insurance policies to ensure adequate home and contents coverage in case emergencies such as fires, flooding, or theft arise. 

Renters should pay close attention to the property condition report when entering a rental agreement and be aware of their rights and responsibilities regarding home maintenance. Failure to do so could cost you your bond money or lead to unnecessary out-of-pocket expenses. 

Reduce fire risks 

Help reduce the risk of house fires by ensuring you have a fire blanket within easy reach of cooking areas. 

Check that fire extinguishers are in working order, smoke alarms are working correctly, and low batteries are changed.

Check for appliance cord damage, frayed wiring, faulty power points, or light switches. Turn these off and replace them as soon as possible. 

Large lithium-ion batteries found in e-scooters, e-bikes or power tools are responsible for rising house fires. Store batteries in a cool, dry place and ensure they are unplugged after charging to prevent overheating. 

Remove physical hazards 

Removing or replacing any physical objects that could lead to accidents is essential, especially for households with young children. 

Ensure that curtain and blind cords are secured to reduce choking risks.

Reduce the risk of trips and falls, ensure walkways are clear and well-lit, and that mats and rugs are secured.

Have a garden tidy up and remove any sharp objects or tools left lying around that could lead to injury in an accident. 

Ask an expert 

There are, of course, some safety checks that are best left to the pros. 

If you have more detailed concerns, call a licenced and qualified tradie to visit your home for a safety check. 

Mr Davies said homeowners and renters trying to tackle tasks they are not qualified to can often become a hazard more significant than the one they’re trying to fix.

“If in doubt, hiring a professional tradesperson to do home maintenance work is always the best option,” he said. 

Poorly maintained gas and electrical systems are a common cause of house fires, but they can be easily avoided with regular safety audits. 

Extreme weather events can also lead to hazards that could harm your family down the track, and it’s best to call in a tradie to check powerlines and repair any structural issues surrounding the household. 

A tradie maintenance service can also help keep home heating and cooling systems productive and clean while checking solar panels to ensure optimum energy efficiency. 

Full survey results can be found on the RACV My Home webpage, which is available to download at racv.com.au/haveyoursay

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Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Stepping away from the media, Paul spent five years sharpening his tools in construction - building his skill set and expertise within the trade industry. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with an insider view of Australia’s construction game to dig deep into the big stories.

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