The days are getting shorter, the nights are closing in and the temperature is slowly dropping. Autumn is the ideal time to address all those little jobs that can make a big difference for you and your family this Winter. Stop problems now before the Winter winds turn them from minor annoyances into disasters! Most of the suggestions listed below are well within the average person’s ability but if you don’t feel up to the task, why not contact CPM (Complete Project Management) to find out more about our Property Maintenance services.
Drainage & Gutters
During the year your drainage system diverts thousands of gallons of water away from your home’s exterior and foundation walls and therefore it’s essential to keep the system flowing freely. The majority of plants and trees drop their leaves in Autumn so it’s important to clear the drains & gutters regularly to prevent any blockages building up. You may even wish to fit mesh guards around the edge of the roof or gutters to prevent the debris from returning.
Windows & Doors
It’s important to check all the seals around your windows & doors as the potential energy savings from reducing drafts in your home may range from 5% to 10% per year. The most cost-effective solution to reduce heating costs is weather-stripping, available from most home improvement stores, as it’s easy to apply and very effective in reducing drafts around the home. However, weather stripping can deteriorate over time so it’s important to conduct an annual inspection. While you’re doing this you may also wish to check for any missing/damaged sealant around the doors, windows and pipe/cable entry points which can also be replaced with minimal hassle.
A leaking roof can be an absolute nightmare for homeowners, as finding the source can often prove frustrating and time-consuming. We recommend conducting an annual inspection to save yourself from any nasty surprises later in the year. Scan your roof from top to bottom checking for any missing or damaged tiles, damage to metal flashing around vents & chimneys and make sure your gutters are flowing freely with no blockages around downpipes.
Drive & Pathways
Winter can play havoc with roads, drives and paths and as we all know, a small crack can often evolve into a much larger crack or even a dreaded pothole! Take a leisurely stroll around your property and look for cracks in your pathway(s) and drive (if applicable), disintegration of concrete or tarmac and excessive sediment around paving slabs. Most of the repairs can be fixed by a competent DIY’er but we suggest you leave any major repairs for a professional.
A well-maintained heating system can transform a shelter into a home and we recommend booking an annual inspection by a qualified specialist. However, if you notice any leaks, unusual noises (squeaks/ whining, etc…) or dwindling performance, it may be worth getting someone to take a look sooner. Many performance related issues such as a worn/slipping belt or blocked heating ducts are relatively cheap to fix, but it’s worth calling in a professional to take a look in case it’s something more serious and to give you peace of mind.
Fireplaces & Chimneys
A fireplace can add atmosphere and warmth to your home, but regular inspections are required to ensure it’s safe for your family and the environment. If you have an open fire check the brickwork and backplate for any cracks or damage; if you own a log burner, check the seals around the doors and flue (downpipe) and make sure the damper (metal plate that opens and closes the flu) opens and closes freely. Throughout the year your chimney may become blocked with soot, debris and even nesting birds, so we recommend contacting a professional chimney sweep to clean the system from top to bottom. This will remove any blockages and creosote, a flammable by-product of burning wood that can build up over time.
All homes should be fitted with a smoke detector and Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors. These play an important role in keeping your family safe so it’s worth checking the batteries and cleaning them regularly with a hoover or duster to ensure they are in good, working order. Test the detectors by pressing the ‘Test’ button or alternatively hold a smoke source (ie. blown-out match) near the unit. Ideally you should have a smoke detector on every floor of your home including the basement.
Last but not least, have a general cleanup! Throw out those old newspapers, unwanted clothes and other miscellaneous items and if you have any seasonal items such as cool bags or beach toys, why not store them safely in the loft ready for next summer. Keeping a tidy house not only makes it easier to clean but also gives it a much more comfortable feel. After all, you will probably be spending far more time inside your house over the coming months!
Once you’ve completed this list you should be well prepared for the winter ahead and free to enjoy the festive season! You may also find some inspiration in our previous blog “10 Ways To Prepare Your Home For The Winter”. If you feel any of these jobs are outside your comfort zone, why not contact CPM to find out more about our Property Maintenance or Responsive Maintenance services. Alternatively, if you require any major repairs that are covered by your home insurance policy, we have a specialist CPM Insurance Division to offer expert advice and handle your claim.