The nights are getting darker, the weather is getting colder; while we still have much of autumn to enjoy, winter is definitely on its way!
The colder months bring with them a fresh set of challenges for home maintenance. Heating systems often malfunction as pipes freeze up, while thieves will be keen to take advantage of the early nights. The cold weather prevents many of us from venturing outside for basic maintenance, but even this can end up causing expensive problems during what is often considered one of the busiest times of year for tradesmen.
With that in mind, here are five ways to get your property ready for winter, before it gets too late!
Many of us take our boilers for granted, until they break down that is. A frozen pipe can shut down the entire system, leaving your property without heat or warm water.
Winter is by far the most popular time of year for boiler servicing, since that is when they tend to get the most usage. However, booking your annual servicing is about more than just keeping warm: a heating/ boiler engineer will also be able to make sure that your boiler is working efficiently and that there are no faults which could endanger your property.
Just make sure that your Pro is on the Gas Safe Register before you hire them. Otherwise, you could be putting yourself and your property in serious danger!
At this time of year, knowing some basic radiator maintenance can be a big help.
Not every radiator issue needs the help of a Pro. For example, if you find that there are cold patches at the top of the radiator, the problem is likely just trapped air. To fix this, you simply need to bleed the radiator using a cheaply bought radiator key.
Having said that, if a radiator is experiencing more complicated problems, it is best to hire a local plumber rather than trying to fix things yourself.
With winter come early nights, ideal for thieves! As such, if you have not invested in security for your home, now will be an excellent time to do so.
According to a panel of former burglars, one of the most effective deterrents is sensor activated outdoor lighting. If someone approaches your home, the light will turn on, highlighting their position. Thieves are far more opportunistic than they are determined: simply showing that you have taken precautions to protect your home can often be enough to make them look elsewhere.
An added bonus is that the automatic lights will make it much easier for you to approach your home safety, which can be a big help once the frosts begins to settle.
Nobody likes gutter cleaning, but failing to do so can cause big problems come winter time.
During autumn and winter, gutters can quickly become clogged with falling leaves and other dead matter. If left alone, this can cause a buildup of water, which can lead to serious problems for the home including damp. Filthy gutters can also encourage pests like rats and mice, and where do you think they will go for warmth once winter sets in?
As well as cleaning your gutters, now will also be a good time to have them checked to make sure they are securely attached to your home. If necessary, book a guttering repair service before it gets too late in the year.
Smart meters are transforming the way we manage our energy usage, making it much easier for us to tell how much we are using and where in order to minimise our costs. As winter approaches and we start firing up our central heating on a regular basis, being able to keep an eye on this can be very useful indeed!
As part of the government’s rollout scheme, your energy provider is actually legally obliged to provide you with a smart meter free of charge. You can also get a ‘smart monitor’, which will make it easy to monitor your energy usage in real time.