As the dark evenings draw in, so does the realisation that none of us can escape the colder months to come. Whilst the big freeze can be hard on homes, there are some steps you can take to protect and care for your property this winter.
Some basic care:
- Be sure that you know the location of all main and subsidiary stop-taps and ensure they are fully operational - being able to turn off the water in an emergency is very important!
- Ensure that you know the layout and routes of all water, gas and electricity services within the premises and that this information is recorded and available.
- Check that your roof is in a well-maintained state, check for cracked or broken tiles and ensure that you get them professionally fixed.
- If you have a chimney, ensure that it is fully swept and clear of obstructions.
- Get the boiler serviced - as well as keeping those inside the house warm, a fully functioning boiler will also ensure that your pipes do not freeze.
- Washing machines, baths and kitchen appliances should be checked for leaks regularly, as this could cause rotting and dampness.
- Do not use naked flames to thaw frozen pipes and equipment.
Look after the outdoor areas too if you have them:
- Ensure that all outside pipes are properly clad. If you notice any cracks then make sure they are dealt with as a matter of urgency.
- Give your garden the once over - secure loose objects such as dustbins and garden furniture in case of strong winds.
- Keep gates and outbuilding doors fastened securely.
- Secure or replace any loose or damaged fence panels.
- Check that your outside lighting is working, this is particularly important if the property has steps or other features which make it difficult to get around when it is dark and slippery.
- Clean the gutters, scoop out any leaves and debris, flush them with a strong stream of water from a hose; or have them professionally cleaned.
Don't forget to take a couple of extra measures if you've got any void periods over winter:
- Try to maintain a minimum room temperature of 15 °C. This is more economical in the long term, as it's expensive to reheat a very cold house (plus you can get the gas central heating covered for FREE - see the last point).
- If the property will be empty for longer than 2-3 months then consider draining the heating system and any water tanks.
- Encourage warm air to circulate by opening the loft hatch and opening cupboard doors.
- Simple steps such as setting a lamp on a timer can give the impression to would-be intruders that someone is home.
- Ask your letting agent or a neighbour to keep an eye on your property for you.
- Don't forget that Baillie White Lettings & Management can secure you 28 days free energy during rental voids, saving you a few £ on the bills if you have tradesmen or other property professionals using energy on their visits, and helping you keep things toasty for your prospective tenants when they come to view.