Experts at London property maintenance firm Aspect have analysed Google search data from the past year to discover the issues causing the most concern and confusion for UK residents.
The results revealed home maintenance problems ranging from the unusual to the frankly bizarre. Homeowners’ often turn to Google to help them diagnose household problems that are on their mind before they contact a professional. This includes the serious sounding ‘Are my electrics safe?’ as well as the very odd ‘Why is my toilet seat turning purple?’
Anxious structural queries
When it comes to the structural stability of our homes, our questions are often tinged with understandable worry. Some of the most urgent included ‘Is my ceiling supposed to wobble?’ and ‘Is my floor going to collapse?’
Anxious homeowners are clearly looking to forums and blogs for reassurance concerning their walls, ceilings, and foundations.
Safety is on many people’s minds
Many questions concerned health and safety, particularly involving electrics. British homeowners want to know ‘Why do my electrics smell of fish?’, ‘Why are my electrics tripping?’ and ‘Is my roof safe to walk on?’ In fact – a significant number of the queries found in the study were related to roof repairs and maintenance.
Before tinkering with fuse boxes and roof slats, homeowners are reassuringly aware of their own personal safety.
Small homes trigger more negative questions
Those living in houses typically made searches related to the specifics of home ownership, such as ‘Why is my house not selling?’, ‘Is my house listed?’ and ‘Is my house in a conservation area?’
Flat-owners and those in small properties are more concerned with ongoing maintenance issues. The most commonly entered searches involved their general comfort, including ‘My flat is so cold’, ‘Is my flat making me ill?’ and, most bizarrely, ‘My apartment smells like onions’.
Comfort is a big priority for all kinds of homeowners, particularly when it comes to the health of their plumbing. Cold shower water, damp walls, and green bath water came top of the list of the weirdest, and most inconvenient, plumbing queries.
‘A healthy curiosity’
According to Aspect’s director of operations, Nick Bezley, this research demonstrates that “the UK has a healthy curiosity about safety and energy efficiency.”
He doesn’t think online advice should be automatically dismissed as unreliable either, “as long as people take the relevant health and safety precautions – especially concerning ladders and tools – and they don’t tackle any tasks that involve safety regulations, like gas or electric work.”
So if you notice a strange smell coming from a plug socket, or hear a bizarre noise in your bathroom, you’re in good company if you turn to Google first.