The days are getting shorter and it is getting colder, so it’s time to think about getting your home prepared for winter. Do these easy but essential maintenance jobs in the autumn and you’ll be prepared for the worst the next few months can throw at you.
Here are some simple ways to prepare your home to stay safe, warm and secure this winter…
Clear the gutters
There’s only one thing the gutter is meant for, and that’s getting rainwater off the roof and down the drain. If it’s blocked, it won’t be able to do this.
You’ll be able to tell you’ve got an issue if rainwater goes down the side of the house instead of down the drainpipe, or if there is any discolouration on your walls. Gutter blockages are often as a result of fallen leaves, moss, or twigs from a bird’s nest. Blockages can cause damp and mould, so it’s essential to make sure rainfall can be effectively drained from your home.
Bleed your radiators
Bleeding radiators regularly will help keep your home warm. Air can get into the system and prevent it from being filled with water. Bleeding the radiator releases the trapped air.
Check that there’s still warm water in the system and then turn off the central heating. Locate the bleed valve on the radiator – it’s a small valve on the side of the radiator, near the top. You’ll need a bleed key to turn it, which you can buy from any DIY store. Turn it 180º anticlockwise to expel any air trapped in the system, which will then fill with water. When all the air has been expelled, it’ll start to drip water and you can close the valve.
Check door and window seals
Check putty and seals around all doors and windows and fill any gaps with caulk (designed for sealing gaps and cracks in walls around the house, it offers a durable, flexible seal and dries in a few hours, you can pick it up at most DIY stores). Check for any signs of damp also, as this could indicate that the sealant on the outside is failing.
If you have big, draughty windows, consider adding temporary insulation with economical double-glazing film (from diy stores or online), which can be sealed with a hair dryer and easily removed in the spring. Draught excluders are also a forgotten essential in winter months and are brilliant for sealing up those little bits of cold air that often find their way under doors. You can get some amusing designs, if rabbits, sheep and hedgehogs are your thing! 😉 https://etsy.me/32vvoNZ
Order logs and coal
If you have a log burner, make sure to order logs and coal, and store outside, within easy reach of the house, in a cool, dry place.
Safeguard your pipes
Make sure that water tanks and pipes are lagged (insulated) and replace any lagging that has slipped over time. Locate the mains water stop cock (usually under the kitchen sink) and make sure it can be turned on and off easily – if a pipe burst in the house, this would probably be the first thing to turn off.
Check outdoor lighting
Make sure outside lights are working. Low-energy lightbulbs will mean they don’t cost much to leave on when it’s dark outside.
Inspect the loft
Check for signs of damp, particularly in areas where the roof slope changes, such as ridges and valleys of the roof, around chimneys, and on brickwork to gable ends. Darker patches, water staining and white streaks of powdery residue could indicate that rainwater has been entering the rood space. While up there, turn off the torch and is daylight can be seen coming through any part of the roof then there is a problem.
Replace missing roof tiles
Ask a roofer to check out the roof and replace missing or cracked slates or tiles. The most vulnerable areas of a roof to storm are where the wind is forced to change direction – these are normally the ‘edges’ of the roof, such as ridges, hips and verges.
Inspect outside walls
General check for all walls: inspect brickwork for any cracks and wear (mortar falling out etc); cladding for any defects, rendering for cracks and signs of coming away from wall, tile hanging for slipped or broken tiles and any signs that gutters or downpipes have been leaking (damp marks, mould etc.)
Tend to flat roofs
Flat roofs made from bituminous felt need regular checking as they are prone to leaks and water damage. Things to check for are cracks, heat bubbles, pooling water, de-lamination and joints between the flat roof and walls. You may also want to ensure that the stone chippings (where relevant) have not become displaced as this can expose the felt to the elements, leading to damage. The general life expectancy of a felt flat roof is 10 years.
Keep a shovel handy
Put a shovel within easy reach of the front door, so you can reach it to clear snow and ice from paths and drives.
Tend to hoses and taps
Drain garden hoses and disconnect from outside taps. Insulate taps with bubble wrap and put hoses away, neatly coiled, in the shed.
Spend some time in the garden
Prune bushes, shrubs and flowers and plant bulbs ready for spring. Mulch bare soil with garden compost, leaf mould or bark. Make sure any pots that are not frost proof are stored away. Mow the lawn on a high setting, then apply fertiliser to the grass. Clean and put away outdoor furniture or, if space is short, buy a waterproof cover for it.
Tidy garage and sheds
Tidy your garden shed and the garage and take anything that you haven’t used for a year to the local tip (following their guidelines of course). Remember, they can recycle old paint as well as glass, metal and other household and garden waste.
If you’d like our help to be as prepared as possible for when winter comes, our fast, responsive service is just a phone call away! Call us on 0330 113 1117. Or, if email is more your thing, drop us a line here: https://www.nmservices.co.uk/contact/