The recent snow was fun, but this weather can cause problems for properties. If you haven’t already, now is the time to prepare, especially if you are trying to sell or secure a tenant. Whether your property is occupied or empty, there are a number of steps you can take to get ensure your property is safe during the cold weather.
Most of us are turning to our thermostat at this time of year to crank up the heating. Your heating system is also one of the first things you should check during the winter.
If you have not had your boiler serviced, don’t wait any longer, now would be a good time to do so. As well as the fact that your boiler is likely to perform better if it has been serviced, servicing also gives you the opportunity to put right any small issues before they become big issues.
If you have an oil-fired or Calor Gas central heating system, remember to check your fuel levels. Running out of oil does not generally do your boiler any good and you will often need an engineer to get it running again once your supply is restored. Another good reason not to run dry is that most oil suppliers charge a premium price for a quick delivery and prices are already pretty high at this time of year.
Make sure that you have carbon monoxide alarms wherever you have a gas or solid fuel appliance and test it to make sure it is working.
If your property is empty, set the timer to make sure the heating comes on a couple of times a day. This is important if you are trying to sell or let a property, to stop it from feeling too cold when people view. It will also guard against to frozen pipes. At this time of year, especially with the recent cold snap, it is best not to get caught out by being unprepared.
If you have not yet done so be sure to get your chimneys and flues swept, this should really be done before you start using wood-burners and open fires.
As mentioned above, keeping heating ticking over can help to avoid frozen and burst pipes. It is also a good idea to make sure any exposed pipework is lagged and pipes in loft spaces/garages etc. are insulated to combat the cold.
Tip – Make sure you know where your stopcock is located so that you can react quickly to a problem if necessary.
Gardens are usually looking pretty bedraggled at this time of year and not very inspiring. It is important to do what you can though to make your garden look as good as it can during the winter. Cut back dead perennials and annual plants and rake up fallen leaves.
Adding mulch to weeded flower beds can help to make everything look a bit nicer in winter, ideal if you are marketing your property. Mulch will also help to supress weed growth come spring and protect the crowns of more delicate perennial plants so it’s a win-win.
More generally, check the outside of your property for maintenance requirements to keep everything in good order. Clean out gutters and make sure your downpipes are not blocked, pressure wash or clean patios and terraces to help to make them less slippery in wet weather.
Check your outside lights are working and replace bulbs if necessary. Peeling paint and poorly maintained coatings on woodwork should be addressed to stop moisture getting in over winter.
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