Residents of Dubai, and the UAE in general, are likely to face certain maintenance issues more frequently than others. This is generally consistent with patterns seen in other countries, however there are some that are more specific to the regional climate and environment.
Frequent issues include air conditioners leaking or not cooling, clogged drains, and burst water pipes. Thankfully, the impact and occurrence of these issues can be reduced by taking certain precautions and conducting regular preventive maintenance.
Below are examples of the most common problems and the actions that you can take to prevent them. You can also refer to our handy home maintenance checklist to make sure that nothing has been missed.
Air Conditioner Issues
Frequent issues with air conditioners include leaks or units not cooling properly. Both can be prevented by regular checkups on condensation hoses as well as periodical cleaning and replacing of filters. Keeping your thermostat set to 24 degrees is another measure to help maintain the durability of your air conditioning system as well as reducing electricity consumption.
Water Heater Problems
Common water heater problems are leaks and lack of hot water. The primary cause of leaks is loose valves or pipes. This can be easily prevented by a quick check and can also be fixed fairly easily. A lack of hot water is often caused by a triggered circuit breaker which is easy to fix, or faulty electricals which can be prevented through periodic maintenance. However, it should be noted that a faulty thermostat can also cause the opposite issue, namely water being too hot. This can have serious consequences as overheating water can cause a build-up of pressure within the tank, causing it to burst!
Another issue that can have consequences if not handled regularly is the buildup of sediment in the tank, which will affect the efficiency of your water heater and reduce its useful life. The solution for this is regularly draining and flushing the water heater tank. However, if you notice hot water coming out a little muddy or rusty then this is a strong indication that an issue is on the horizon and you should turn off your heater and call in a professional as soon as possible.
The main cause for clogged drains in the kitchen is usually fats and oils, whilst in the bathroom hair is the biggest culprit. To combat this, avoid pouring oils into the drains, and if you accidentally do so ensure that you follow it with hot water and dishwashing liquid. Furthermore, add strainers to your bathtub drain to capture and remove hair following showers. Try to avoid using drain clearing acids as they can cause permanent damage to your plumbing.
Water Pipe Problems
Burst water pipes are another common maintenance issue facing households in Dubai. Burst pipes are often caused by rust, corrosion, or excessive water pressure. It can be down to the material used in those pipes, the quality of the installation, weather conditions or the surrounding environment. This sort of problems can be prevented through periodic checks on the quality and state of the pipes and the joints and the proactive replacement of parts that have been weakened.
Electrical faults can be extremely dangerous and if ignored they can even cause fires. This is most likely to happen when devices with frayed cords are used. By exposing the wires, you run the risk of heat being transferred to flammable items such as carpets and curtains. However, it is also good practice to have mains power sockets checked as faults with these can also cause similar issues. Telltale signs of potential issues are being able to insert plugs into an outlet too easily, plugs falling out of their own accord and intermittent power supply from that socket.
Circuit breakers regularly being tripped are also an indication of underlying faults. This may be a case of overloading the circuit, short circuits or ground fault surges (where a live and neutral wire touch). Ignoring these underlying issues can be dangerous and it should be remembered that circuit breakers themselves can wear out leaving you and your family with unnecessary risk exposure.
Other signs to look for are burning smells, sparks or flickering lights. All of these could be due to electrical issues and you should call a professional in to take a look.
Jammed Doors and Windows
Jammed doors can be a major hindrance in the UAE due to the high humidity levels. This causes wooden doors to absorb moisture and expand. Professional carpenters should be able to assist with this by trimming down doors so that they fit again.
Another reason for jammed doors is loose hinges or joints. This is an even easier fix as it usually just requires tightening of screws.
However, it is important to get these issues checked out as there is also the possibility of foundation settlement problems, where there is structural movement that can have serious consequences. This is often evidenced by external cracks appearing as well, although not all cracks indicate foundational issues.
Handling of chemicals and other methods of pest management are specialist subjects that require professional training. It is essential to make sure that you use a Municipality approved operator as there have been many instances of unsafe products being used by unregulated companies, leading to health issues for residents.
The best preventative measures concern themselves with eliminating sources of nourishment and shelter for pests. This means wiping down sticky surfaces, regularly disposing of garbage, storing food in airtight containers, avoiding having stagnant or standing water at home and of course monitoring any pets that live with you. However, it is also recommended to schedule pest control once a quarter rather than waiting for an infestation to spread and then reacting.