When it comes to household repairs, most homeowners tend to think these will be covered by contents or building insurance.
However, Tap Warehouse, has discovered that many of these repair jobs are actually hidden and possibly something you’re aware of, but don’t think is doing any real damage.
But you could be wrong and it might end up costing a small fortune in the long run – up to £32,000, according to calculations by Tap Warehouse.
They reveal how you could avoid spending thousands of pounds just by keeping up with household maintenance and changing some small home habits that could potentially drain your bank balance in the future.
Here are 10 small flaws and habits that could cost you a fortune, from the most expensive to the least.
1. Broken gutters leak – £12,500 worth of repairs
Once the water backs up in the gutters this can cause it to leak through the roof. This then leads to structural damage in the walls, chimney and even the foundation. This can be a very expensive job to fix, with costs reaching a whopping £12,500 on average.
Not only that, but heavy rain and snow increases the risk of ice dams on the roof, especially when your gutters aren’t working, which can lead to a roof repair costing £3,000 to fix.
2. Cracked sealant can lead to £2,000 worth of damage
Any type of sealant and grout doesn’t last forever, and this can be particularly damaging in the bathroom if left untreated. Sealant around the shower or tub area and tile grout need regular maintenance. If left untreated, cracks can develop, allowing moisture to seep through to the ceiling below.
Unfortunately, Tap Warehouse says a bathroom leak caused by worn sealant is not likely to be covered by your home insurance. So, what seems like a tiny issue of cracked sealant/grout might end up costing you a lot more in the long run – even a simple leak from a bathroom to the ceiling below can cost £2,000 to repair.
If you want to avoid any nasty surprises, make sure to reseal the shower and bath area every one to two years and seal grout on high-traffic areas at least once a year.
3. Blocked air bricks costs a homeowner £400 – £16,000 in repairs
Air bricks are specially designed with holes to allow air to flow underneath buildings with suspended timber floors. However, over time these air bricks can become blocked with soil, leaves and debris. If plants or grass have been left to overgrow, this can block the air bricks, too.
Once the bricks are blocked or even partially blocked, moisture and gasses from the ground won’t be able to escape.
This will cause condensation and may eventually lead to rising damp, which can cost hundreds of pounds to fix. Even rising damp treated relatively quickly can cost £400, but, if left untreated you could be looking at £16,000 in repair fees.
4. Dirty fridge coils cost Brits a whopping £441
You likely already wipe down the inside of your fridge, but can you remember the last time you cleaned the outside, particularly the condenser coils.
These coils are located at the back of the fridge and can become clogged with dust, dirt and pet hair. Once they become enmeshed your fridge has to work harder to keep your food cool, meaning you could be paying an extra £56 a year in electricity.
What’s more, dirty fridge coils actually shorten the lifespan of your fridge. They overload the compressor which can result in a hefty £385 to repair.
The good news is that these coils are easily cleaned. Simply turn off the fridge and vacuum the coils to remove the dust.
These should be cleaned once a year, or more if you have a lot of dust or pet hair in the kitchen.
5. A dripping tap costs homeowners £300
While it may seem like a tiny issue, even a slowly dripping tap can waste thousands of litres of water a year.
Taps that constantly trickle can use over 450 litres a day, or a huge 175,000 litres of water over the course of a year. That costs the average homeowner a painful £300 extra on their water bill. And, if it’s a hot water tap dripping you also have hundreds of pounds added onto your gas bill – all going straight down the drain.
Thankfully, a leaky tap is an easy and cheap fix. More often than not a simple tap washer change is all that is required.
6. Running toilets add up to £300 being flushed away every year
A toilet that constantly leaks from the cistern into the pan can accumulate to 400 litres a day – enough to fill five bathtubs.
If left unfixed for a year this can add up to a massive £300 extra on your water bill.
And that’s not even the worst of it, some toilets can leak a vast 8,000 litres a day – the equivalent of 100 baths.
A leaky loo could cost over £6,000 a year if not fixed.
It’s sometimes hard to notice when your toilet is leaking which means they often go untreated. One key sign is if you can hear or see a flow of water at the back of the toilet pan when the toilet hasn’t been flushed.
Another good trick is by putting a few drops of food colouring in the cistern – wait 10 minutes to see if it spreads to the bowl. If it does, you have a leak. Make sure to flush after 10 minutes to ensure you don’t stain the loo.
7. An inefficient showerhead costs nearly £100 every year
You may think you’re saving money and water by taking a shower rather than a bath, but, if your showerhead is inefficient you could be using more water in under five minutes than a bath.
If you have a shower that takes hot water directly from a boiler or water tank (instead of an electric shower) you could be wasting a pretty penny on gas and water bills. By switching to an efficient showerhead, a family of four could save £40 off their gas bills and around £55 off their water bills – a total of £95 saved.
8. Not installing a water meter adds up to an extra £71
Although you can’t switch water providers in Scotland, there are still ways to save money on your water bill. One way is completely free of charge to install and could save hundreds a year, such as installing a water meter. The amount of money you can save is completely dependent on how much water you typically use.
Those living alone or in a small household often will benefit from the most savings.
This is because without a water meter your bill will be based on your home’s ‘rateable value’ and is completely irrelevant to water usage.
The average unmetered property costs an additional £71 annually in water bills. If you find the water meter doesn’t save you money, or you change your mind, you may be able to switch back within 12 months, though many companies offer up to 24 months.
9. A running tap while washing the dishes costs £25 a year
Did you know that 10 minutes of rinsing dishes can waste enough water to fill a bath (100 litres)?
When the water is hot it’s not only costing you in water but gas, too.
Using a washing up bowl only uses 10 litres of water, thanks to being smaller than the sink, which is why people can save £25 a year just by switching to a bowl.
How to keep up to date with the latest Record Money news
Did you know there are a number of ways you can stay up to date with the latest money saving and benefits news from the Daily Record?
You can join the conversation on our Money Saving Scotland Facebook group for money-saving tips, benefits news, consumer help and advice plus the latest shopping deals.
Sign up to our weekly Record Money newsletter to get our best stories sent straight to your inbox. You can sign up either by entering your email address in the sign up box further up this page or click here.
You can also follow our Twitter account @Recordmoney_ for regular updates here.
10. Storing cold water in the fridge can save you £17
When you grab a glass of water do you run the tap first, so the water is cold? That’s about one litre of water wasted for every drink, totalling eight litres of water per day, so just think how much is wasted over a year.
For an average household, this accumulates to 16 hot tubs worth of water (11,680 litres) costing £17 a year.
You can easily save that £17 by filling a water jug and keeping it in the fridge.
Get the latest money-saving and benefits news sent straight to your inbox. Sign up to our weekly Money newsletter here.