8 Tips to prepare your property for winter
It’s that time of year again. The days are short, the roads are slippery, and we’ve having to get up ten minutes early every morning, break out the scraper and attack our frost-glazed windscreens. Winter is well underway, and it’s going to have a detrimental effect on your property – unless, that is, you take steps to prevent it from doing so. In this article, we’ll take a look at eight ways in which this can be done. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
If you’re heating your property by pumping heated water through it, as most property owners do, then you’ll want to take steps to prevent that heat from escaping. This is especially so if your pipes happen to travel near uninsulated attic spaces and outside walls.
You’ll want to fit your pipes with insulating material, which can be purchased cheaply at your local DIY shop. If this idea doesn’t appeal, then you can always pay a plumber to do it for you.
2. Keep the heating on
While it might seem obvious that the best way to reduce a heating bill is to turn it off when you’re leaving the house, this strategy can actually have a detrimental impact on your pipes. It’s worth keeping your heating on at a low level – that way, when the temperature drops to sub-zero temperatures outside, your pipes will not feel the strain associated with the freeze-thaw cycle.
If you’re renting your property out, then this might be a problem. Your tenants will have control over the changes in temperature, and yet won’t feel the long-term cost that comes with replacing pipes. Pass this advice on to your tenants – and hope that they follow it.
3. Check for loose objects
When the winds begin to pick up, any loose objects around your property, like tiles, could potentially become missiles. It’s important that such items are safely cleared away.
4. Clean out your gutters
During autumn, all of the leaves will have fallen off the trees. If your property should happen to be nearby, many of these leaves may have fallen into your guttering. This will prevent your guttering from properly functioning – which is bad news when snow begins to fall from the sky.
This concern is especially pressing if the gutters in question are next to a flat roof. All of that dead foliage will prevent water from draining away, which in turn will place added stress on your roof, which in turn will cause damage, and eventually a leak.
5. Watch out for damp
If you’re having a hot shower or boiling yourself some ravioli, it follows that you’ll introduce a lot of steam into your surroundings. This steam will condense on every surface – and that moisture will settle there until it dries out. This isn’t such an enormous problem during the summer. But during the winter, it can be a significant problem.
Get around this by keeping showers short and cold, and limiting the spread of steam by closing doors. Installing an extractor fan or two can also help to keep your property free from moisture. Just make sure that you occasionally replace the filter, in order that the fan maintain maximum suction throughout its lifespan.
If your boiler stops working, for whatever reason, you’re in trouble. If it does so during the winter, this is especially so. Unfortunately, this is just not a problem that many people anticipate until it’s occurred.
It’s important to get your boiler serviced annually, by a qualified engineer. This will not only help to maintain the boiler, but it will reduce the likelihood of a lethal gas leak.
7. Bleed your radiators
Of course, it’s no use having a brilliantly functioning boiler if all of the radiators attached to it are on the brink of collapse. For this reason, it’s important to check your radiators and see just how efficiently they’re running. If they’re colder at the top than the bottom, then the chances are that you have a problem in the form of trapped air. Bleeding your radiators will allow this air to escape, thereby improving the efficiency of your radiators and ultimately saving you money.
8. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst
If you’re in an area where severe weather is possible, then take steps now to account for it. If you’re on a flood plain, for example, you’ll want to prepare a plan and follow it when the water begins to rise.