If you’re aware that your property will be empty for a prolonged period, there are some common sense steps you should take to keep it safe, such as turning off the water to avoid leaks, unplugging electrical items and keeping heating turned down to a minimum. But how about when you’re ready for the property to be occupied again?

Kitchen appliances rely on a variety of services, depending on the white goods you have in the property. Water, heat and electricity are all volatile on their own, but combine them with machinery which isn’t designed to be left unused for long periods of time, and you’ve potentially got a recipe for disaster.

Jobs you can do yourself

Safety first! Always unplug any electrical equipment before you attempt any sort of work. Even if the appliance was fine before its dormant time, there’s always a chance it could have developed a fault. Parts could easily have corroded, rotted or dried out. Only plug it back in when you’re happy with its condition and ready to test it.

• Washing Machines & Dishwashers

Check the hoses and seals, which can easily crack or become loose without regular use. If you’re testing it yourself for the first time, use a simple spin or drain cycle, which will demonstrate that the mechanical components and pump are working without putting too much strain on the machine.

• Cooker

For gas cookers, check the inlet pipes are intact and still firmly connected at both ends. It may take a few seconds for the gas to come through, but if no gas appears and the oven won’t light, stop straight away and call a professional. Electric cookers are power hungry, so start it up slowly, with the smallest hob ring on a low setting.

• Fridge or Freezer

Assuming it’s been kept clean, dry and upright, there should be no problem getting a fridge straight back into action. We’d recommend a thorough clean before putting food back in it, because you can’t be sure what might be lurking, even if it looks spotless.

For helpful beginners’ advice, take a look at the White Goods Help website, which is written by a professional engineer.

Jobs which should be attempted by a professional

Should you see any signs of damage, no matter how small, or you’re unsure that everything really is completely safe and ready for use, walk away from the appliance and seek advice. Unreliable electronics or gas supply problems are far too risky for an unqualified layman, and you must consider your own safety and that of any future tenants.

For more information on looking after and insuring an unoccupied property, take a look at our helpful guide.