Days are getting shorter and darker; the weather is turning and winter is definitely coming. The colder season can cause all sorts of problems for the home and garden, so here are a few maintenance tasks that should be on everyone’s winter checklist. Don't forget to consider security around your property too; read our previous post here.
- Check your loft insulation to make sure it's fitted correctly and you have the right amount. This could make a huge difference to your energy bills and mean your home is warmer over the winter months. Consult with a professional if you're not sure what you need.
- Bleed radiators regularly (read our guide here). This will help remove dust and dirt from the system and can increase the efficiency of your heating (and potentially reduce heating bills).
- Check the chimney and fireplace (if you have one) and get them swept out at least once a year. The chimney is an important vent for removing toxins and fumes released when you burn wood. Over time the chimney can get blocked for various reasons, including birds nests etc and this can cause a build-up of creosote. Both the nests and creosote are flammable, so it creates a high risk of chimney fire.
- Have your boiler serviced to ensure it will work continuously and efficiently through the winter months. A regular service means you can catch any problems before they develop properly, and it keeps your boiler maintained so it's likely to last longer and lessen the risk of it breaking down.
- Check your smoke alarms as the batteries may need changing. This should be done twice a year - a good way to remember is to do it when the clock changes. Smoke alarms can save lives so it's important to ensure they are working.
- Check for gaps around windows and doors and seal any you find with caulk where necessary to prevent draughts. Again, this helps with efficient heating of your property, otherwise you could be losing a lot of warmth and the radiators work overtime to compensate.
- Move items such as bins, garden furniture, child’s toys etc into a safe place so they do not get blown around during high winds. If you are putting them into a shed, make sure it is locked and secure. Padlocks and chains are an excellent deterrent to anyone looking to steal something from your outbuildings.
- Clean the gutters of any blockages and debris. Blockages will cause them to overflow and continued water ingress can create rot and further issues with your weatherboarding, fascia and soffits. Read our guide here.
- Cut back trees. This is handy for two reasons; it helps avoid leaves building up in the gutters, and cutting back any overhanging branches could prevent them from being blown off and causing damage to your property.
- Check for damage to the roof. High winds and rain could make small problems bigger and make them more expensive to fix.
- Wrap outside taps and pipes with thermal insulation, helping to prevent them freezing. If you are unfortunate enough to have a pipe burst, it is essential to know where your stopcock is and that it hasn’t seized.
- Sweep /rake any leaves up to reduce the risk of them creating a slippery surface on drives, patios and paths. To recycle them, you can create mulch in a corner of your garden to spread over your borders.
- Make sure your fences are strong and well-prepared for any harsh weather or winter storms. Get any repairs done before the weather sets in. This may mean replacing a few panels or a spur post or two to ensure the fence is sturdy and less likely to move about in winds.
- Check your external and security lighting to ensure it is working – and if you haven’t got any, consider investing in some. Lighting can be a good deterrent to anyone looking to trespass onto your property in the dark, and those with motion sensors alert you to movement. (The downside is that they need to be set to specific ranges otherwise passing cars and pedestrians on the road can set them off, and they do trigger when animals move around outside.)
- Consider buying some salt and sand ready to scatter on your driveway and paths when the ice and snow hits. The salt can melt the snow and ice but turn it into slush which can still be unstable so the sand provides a layer of friction for shoes and tyres.
Don't forget to contact us if you need advice or help with any of the above. We have teams to cover any aspect of home maintenance and can help you lessen the impact of the winter months on your property.