Preparing your property for Autumn
It’s now that time of year to start making sure your property is as ready for Winter as possible, with temperatures dropping and the weather taking a turn for the worse.
A small amount of maintenance now can reduce the risks of problems throughout the Winter months when a minor outstanding job can turn into something more major, with the possibility of your insurance company not paying out a claim in the event of your property being in a state of disrepair.
Whether you are a Home Owner or Tenant, this is the time to just take a few minutes to assess anything that may need doing. If you are in rented accommodation, ensure that you notify your Landlord or Managing Agent as soon as is possible as failure to do so could mean you become liable if problems aren’t flagged up in good time.
Just a few tips for the next few weeks include :-
- Clean out your gutters and make sure downpipes and any outlets are clear of leaves and debris and repair any leaking gutters if needed. If a gutter is then blocked up with water it could freeze and pull away from the building, causing further damage, and a backlog of water could run the risk of freezing which could burst your pipes.
- Inspect the roof (e.g. carefully from the ground) for any broken, loose or missing slates/tiles/mortar or flashings and watch for any early signs of leaks or condensation on the ceilings, especially at the outer edges of the ceilings. And in the case of ice and snow on the roof, make sure there is nothing that can be damaged should it slide off when thawing.
Saving money and Energy
- Getting your boiler serviced or inspected should always be at the forefront of any Autumn MOT as a boiler breakdown is a grim experience. Many property-owners do not realise that a well-maintained boiler will burn less fuel so having your boiler checked and your heating system serviced will save money and most importantly, it could potentially avoid a terrible tragedy.
- Ensuring your loft has adequate insulation and even fitting draught excluders will both help keep your house warmer and save you energy. Too few households take sufficient measures to fully insulate their properties – these are often simple steps, some costing very little, and it can mean a much warmer property and so less need to turn up the thermostat. For example, if you have less than 10cm of insulation in your loft you’ll be wasting energy so top the insulation up to 27cm and you could save around £150 a year. Also bear in mind that certain grants may be available for loft and cavity wall insultion (subject to status). Further information can be easily found by visiting Dorset Energy Advice Centre and remember Landlords that you can claim up to 40% tax relief on insulation costs through the ‘Landlords Energy Saving Allowance’ on your tax return. For more information contact HMRC
- Sometimes even the simplest of things like changing your supplier can save you money. Contact us if you would like to consider this.
- With our winters expected to get colder and heating costs on the rise, it’s important to make sure your property is well insulated and retaining as much heat as possible. Close all windows and only open them during the day when the sun is shining so the rooms can absorb the free light and warmth. Insert a rubber or foam window draft excluder in each room, which will immediately stop draughts from entering a room and in return it will keep rooms warmer which will make it cheaper to heat.
- Put up thick curtains to block draughts. Curtains lined with heavy material can reduce heat loss from a room through the windows at night and considerably reduce draughts. Also hollow blinds fitted into place with a sealed frame and sealed shutters will also help cut draughts and keep your heat in for longer.
- Make sure outdoor taps and pipes are well lagged.
- Check to make sure you know where your stopcock is and that it works!
- Regularly look to make sure overflows from toilets or header tanks aren’t dripping . If they are, it is normally a straightforward job just to adjust the ball valve but if left unattended it could lead to freezing and further problems
- Where possible remove fallen leaves from ground level drains and paths. These can cause blockages which could create problems and paths become slippery when covered in mulch.
- In the event of a power cut make sure you have a working torch and/or candles to hand.