The winter is upon us and while it promises more opportunities to relive or create fond memories while snuggling by your fireplace with a hot chocolate or having fun snowball fights, it can also lead to problems. This is particularly true for homeowners whose properties are not ready for the coming season.
Good Housekeeping noted that the three-month-long extreme freeze last year resulted in insurers paying out a staggering £194 million on burst pipes alone. Aside from frozen pipes, there are many other ways winter can cause damage to your property. To avoid accruing damages and future costs, here are some things all homeowners need to do to make sure their houses are ready for the winter:
Clean the gutters
Clogged gutters cause many issues during the winter months. Clogged gutters prevent melted snow from draining properly and as a result, water finds other routes to escape. It can either overflow and speed up the deterioration of your exterior—or worse, find its way to your property’s foundation, which can potentially create bigger problems in the long run.
As mentioned in our post ‘Eight Things Landlords Can Do to Prepare Their Property for the Winter’, it is extremely important to keep gutters clear to avoid structural damage.
Trim nearby trees
As harmless as they may be, trees can be a serious safety risk during the winter. The Balance suggests that snow and ice can potentially take down branches or cause an entire tree to fall due to the weight. To ensure the safety of your property as well as your tenants, inspect all trees immediately outside your property and cut down dying ones which could potentially fall down, as well as trim any branches that could wilt under pressure.
Service your boiler
As the cold season approaches, it is best to check if your properties have functioning boilers, especially as tenant-landlord laws require rental properties to have their heating systems in good working order. To make sure that your boiler is in its optimal condition, get a professional to inspect it and be sure to follow their advice. Plumbing service providers HomeServe also recommend getting insurance for your boiler and central heating system. This is particularly important as predictions suggest there will be over 2,500 boilers breakdowns this year as the temperatures are projected to be harsher than usual.
Aside from boilers, chimneys can also be an efficient way to keep your property warm and cosy. The Washington Post notes that a good chimney sweep will not only increase its efficiency but also ensure safety. For a more thorough cleaning, get a good chimney sweep company to do it for you before winter arrives and have them identify and resolve maintenance problems. If you don’t plan on making use of the chimney, remember to board it up or use a chimney balloon to keep cold air out and warm air in.
One way to make your property energy-efficient this winter is by making sure that it is properly insulated. Proper insulation will keep your property warm in the winter and cool in the summer, thus reducing the work needed to be done by the boilers to keep the property at the desired temperature. At the same time, you can also have your pipes insulated to keep them from freezing or bursting.
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