With summer firmly behind us, now is the time to take a look at your property and ensure it’s in good shape to weather the winter.
Starting with the outside of the property, look for any signs of flaky or bubbling paintwork, as well as substantial cracks in the rendered surfaces – a few hairline cracks are nothing to be concerned about.
Pay particular attention to the roof line, corners, window and door surrounds and the ground level.
The exterior paintwork of your property acts as its winter raincoat and any substantial defects can cause water ingress, eventually resulting in the occurrence of damp on the inside of your property, and a much larger repair bill – prevention is better than cure.
There are also a number of items to consider inside the property, particularly if it has been used as a summer rental for the bucket and spade brigade. Every property is different, but common things to consider include:
• Check all windows, doors, shutters and locks are functioning
• Check all electrical appliances are working correctly in the kitchen and bathrooms, including cleaning filters, for example, washing machine, dishwasher, hob extractor unit, etc
• Check hot and cold water system, ensure all outlets are drip free, taps, toilets, etc (could save you money on water bills, particularly if your property is closed up for the winter, and prevent flooding in the case of a leaking toilet cistern)
• Ensure all exterior drains, gullies and guttering are clean and not blocked – particularly on first floor terraces – again this will avoid unnecessary flooding
• Have your chimney swept before lighting your first fire
• Book your annual boiler / air-con / under-floor heating service
• Ensure all pumps are serviced annually, for example, borehole pumps, swimming pool pumps, etc
These are just some of the most common areas to consider in your property and, if well maintained, these preventative measures will increase efficiency, thus keeping utility bills and overall running costs to a minimum, and extend the life expectancy of items such as air-con units, boilers, pumps, etc.
For example, the life expectancy of a typical air-con unit is eight to 12 years, after which point repairs become expensive, with discontinued or unavailable parts. If a unit is eight years old it is nearing its life expectancy. You can add at least four years to this number if you have had it professionally maintained on an annual basis. Prevention is better than cure.
Brett Hawkins is the Managing Director of GMT 24:7, a local expert in all areas of general building and property maintenance.
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