Caring for your home

Your home will be one of the most valuable purchases you may ever make so keeping it well maintained is safe guarding your investment.

Regular home maintenance will enable you to identify potential problems earlier and plan for repairs or replacements.

You will need to have an “emergency fund” for events such as a leaky roof or a water cylinder needing replacing and we would recommend putting a sum of money aside for annual maintenance and repairs.

If your home is older you may need to budget more as the materials will already have had a number of years wear and tear.

In setting up a home maintenance programme, you should consider both the interior and exterior of your property. The programme should include things as simple as replacing the batteries in your smoke alarms to cleaning drains in the driveway.

Our seasonal Home Maintenance Programme (PDF 198 KB) gives a guide of when some of the more important internal and external maintenance should be attended to. We would recommend you add these as reminders in your diary / calendar so that they don’t just slip by.

Appliances have limited life spans and will need to be replaced in time, for example:

Appliance Average life span
Fridge/Freezer 20 years
Clothes dryer 18 years
Range/Oven 18 years
Washing machine 13 years
Water heater 13 years
Dishwasher 12 years


Basic repairs such as replacing a tap washer or cleaning the spouting are in the realms of most people, although certain safety features such as turning off the water at the mains and securing your ladder appropriately must always be taken into account.

It may be necessary to engage a specialist contractor for some jobs, e.g. a roofing contractor who can carry out an inspection of flashings and gutters. By preventing leaks from the roof you will stop damage to the ceilings and decay to the roof structure.

When it comes to carrying out your annual maintenance programme you should always consider whether you are competent to undertake the repair and when to engage a professional. Our Home Maintenance Programme does suggest where it may be appropriate to engage a professional and where the home owner should be able to complete the task. We would, however, suggest that before you attempt a repair you consider:

  • Do you have all the equipment needed to carry out the repair?
  • What safety precautions should you take (e.g., turning off the mains power)?
  • Will you affect the structure of the building? We would suggest, if the answer is yes, you engage a qualified professional who has appropriate insurance should any damage occur during the repair.

Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when carrying out maintenance and engage a suitably qualified professional if required. To achieve the expected durability of the material or building element used on your home, it is important that you follow the maintenance requirements stated by the manufacturer. Details of the materials used will be within the plans and specification documents submitted as part of the building consent. A copy of the building consent can be purchased from your local council.

With more and more emphasis being placed on compliance documents by the consumer and local bodies it is important to retain documents for all work carried out on your home. This also applies to any work on the services such as power, gas, water drainage, roofing or cladding.

Keep all warranties in a safe place and make sure you fill in the details and return to the manufacturer if required, including proof of purchase.

Make sure any work carried out by a contractor that needs to be certified records the contractor’s licence number. Stay away from contractors wanting cash payments and are reluctant to issue tax invoices or their licence number. Always ask for verification of skills and certification before work commences on your property.

The exterior paint of your property will also need to be regularly maintained to ensure the life of your cladding. For monolithic cladding, the paint is the waterproof barrier for the home and it is essential that the cladding is regularly painted to avoid any weathertightness issues. The frequency of painting will depend on the material used and the location of your property. We recommend you follow the manufacturer’s guide.


Need help?

We provide independent information and support on all matters related to homes and housing. If you are experiencing a challenge — whether with a defective building, trouble with a contractor/service provider, or issues within your body corporate, our team can help you.  

Phone: 0800 462 269