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Plumbing: Even a small leak from a water pipe or cistern can cause a great deal of harm if left unaddressed over a long period of time. Check that all toilets, cisterns, urinals, wash basins and sinks are functioning properly, are securely fixed and not broken.

Water tank  Tap

Action point: Overflows, dripping taps and leaks should be fixed immediately otherwise moisture may seep into nearby timber or masonry and encourage decay. Fixing dripping taps and leaks also helps to reduce water wastage, which ultimately saves money and resources.

Electrical systems: These should be checked by a qualified person at least once every five years. Only electrical contractors enrolled with the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC) or the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) should be employed.

Boxed in fuse boardIn addition, a ‘routine check' should be carried out by someone who is competent to understand the electrical system (not necessarily a qualified electrician) every year. The routine check should look for any wear and deterioration, missing parts, correct labelling and operation of test buttons etc.

Details of the routine check should be included in your logbook. Portable appliances should also be inspected for damage or defects on a regular basis. If any appliances are found to be faulty, they should be repaired or replaced immediately.

Electrical socketFurther information on maintaining portable electrical equipment can be found on the website of the Health and Safety Executive. The Electrical Safety First website also offers useful advice.

Action point: Commission an electrical inspection and place a copy of the report in the logbook once every five years. Arrange for a competent person to carry out the annual ‘routine check'.

Heating systems: It is worth checking that your heating system is operating correctly and efficiently as this may reduce the frequency of breakdowns as well as lowering your heating costs.

You should also ensure that all exposed water tanks and heating pipes are protected against severe frost and that the frost thermostat is working. Localised flooding through pipe or tank bursts, caused by winter freezing, can be prevented by proper lagging. 

Action point: Bleed Radiatorradiators if you have them and ensure that the frost thermostat is operational. You should also shut down the heating system once a year and have the boiler serviced. For work on gas installations, you must use a fully qualified Gas Safe engineer.

 

© SPAB 2012