Now that autumn is underway and the days are getting shorter and colder, you’ve probably dusted off your winter coat and switched the central heating back on. Autumn is also an ideal time to revisit your home maintenance checklist to ensure it is in good condition and prepped for the colder weather ahead of the winter season.
Home Maintenance Checklist
With plumbers and engineers often booked up during the autumn and winter months, it’s not always easy to get your plumbing, boilers and kitchen appliances fixed quickly if something goes wrong. Not to mention, it can be expensive. Taking some simple home maintenance precautions, such as those below, to prevent leaks, draughts and other home disasters could help you avoid future costly damage.
Prevent Frozen Pipes
When temperatures drop below freezing for a sustained period of time, the pipes in our homes are at risk of freezing unless they are protected or suitably lagged. As pipes freeze, they can expand and crack or burst under pressure. This is often not identified until the thaw sets in. Click here for some helpful tips on dealing with frozen pipes and what to do if they burst.
Check Your Heating Sources
Don’t wait until you need your heating to turn it on, give it a trial-run now before the colder weather hits. Book a professional to inspect and service your boiler or heating system to ensure everything is in proper working order. This will also help you to address any minor problems before they turn into major, costly repairs. If your boiler is old, consider replacing it with a newer, more energy efficient model rather than repairing it.
In addition, switch on your thermostat to make sure it’s working correctly and your radiators have come on and are evenly warm. If your radiators are only hot at the top or at the bottom, you will most likely need to bleed them of air.
If you have a fireplace, hire a professional to clean your chimney and check your flues for a tight seal when closed to make sure that they can be used safely when you need them. Fireplaces that get regular use should be cleaned annually to prevent dangerous chimney fires.
Test Your Smoke Alarms
Given that we tend to open our doors and windows less frequently during the autumn and winter months, our homes are not as well ventilated and therefore the chances of gasses building up are more likely at this time of year. Check the batteries in all of your smoke detectors and change them if needed. You should also place carbon monoxide (which is particularly dangerous as it’s odourless) alarms near your boiler and woodburners to ensure that they’re not emitting any poisonous fumes.
Avoid Condensation and Damp
A lack of ventilation from keeping windows and doors shut over autumn and winter can cause condensation, which may seem like a minor problem, but is in fact one of the most common causes of damp. Make sure the rooms within your home are well-ventilated and install extractor fans in areas such as bathroom and kitchens, which produce the most vapour, to reduce condensation.
Inspect Windows and Doors
The seals around the windows and doors in your home can help maintain the temperature indoors and even reduce your heating bills. Check your window and door frames for any damages, gaps or holes and fill them with caulk to prevent drafts. If there are any significant issues, hire a professional to repair them if needed. When carrying out your checks, don’t forget to look at any vents and places where exterior pipes enter the house as well.
Fix Any Roof Faults
Bad weather can take its toll on your roof, even if your roof has small faults. Inspect your roof for buckled or cracked tiles and check if any are missing. If you spot any damage, call a professional to deal with it. Do not attempt to carry out the repairs yourself unless you are trained to do so and have adequate safety equipment. It is very common for insurers not to pay for claims if your roof has been poorly maintained during blustery weather.
Clean Drains, Gutters and Gullies
Throughout the autumn season, clear your drains, gutters and gullies regularly to prevent blockages from a build-up of leaves and other debris. Make sure there isn’t any water falling behind your gutters and that their support brackets are securely in place. Repair any leaking gutters or down pipes so that the water drains properly and doesn’t pool, as that can lead to damaged foundations, walkways and driveways.
Protecting Your Home
In addition to home maintenance, there are a number of steps you should consider taking to protect the security of your home as the darker nights make it more vulnerable to burglary. These include:
- Check all door and window locks are working properly.
- Hide any keys so that they are not visible and out of reach.
- Securely bolt or padlock side and back gates.
- Fit a good quality lock on any sheds, garages or other outbuildings and hide the keys.
- Lock ladders away so that they can’t be used to gain access to any upstairs floors.
- Use timed lighting to deter burglars when you are away from home.
Make Sure You Have the Correct Home Insurance Cover
The most important thing to make sure of is that your house is adequately protected with appropriate home and contents insurance. That way, your home and belongings will be protected in the unfortunate event of an accident or burglary and you need to make a claim.
Whether you are an existing client or looking to switch from your current insurance provider, get in touch with our home insurance team today by calling 02920 853788 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.