Golden trees, crisp mornings, crunchy leaves and woolly jumpers can only mean one thing; Autumn is here.
Outside there’s a slight chill in the air yet the sun glows warm(ish) so there's no time like the present to start thinking about what you can do to prepare your property for cooler weather.
Take a look at some of the following tips to help prepare your property for the coming months.
CLEAR THE GUTTERS
It’s the time of year when leaves line pavements and driveways. While this may look pretty, leaves and other debris can fall into gutters and even cause them to become blocked so it is a good idea to check the gutters are clear. Tell-tale signs include if you notice plants growing inside the gutter, or there is water spilling over the side. It is important to deal with the issue promptly, because not only could the problem get worse the longer it is left but you also want to avoid potential structural damage to the property, and damp.
In extremely cold weather, blocked gutters can also freeze over if there is excess water in them, leading to dangerous patches of ice.
CHECK THE ROOF
This probably isn't something you think to do very often, but winter storms can really take their toll on even the smallest faults. Look out for buckled or cracked shingles, and check if any are missing. Any damage to your shingles should be dealt with quickly by a professional. It is not advisable to attempt repairs to your roof unless you are trained and have the correct safety equipment to hand.
TRIM THE TREES
Cut back any dead branches, particularly those that are hanging over your house. In stormy, windy, or icy weather, these could fall and potentially cause damage and injury.
CHECK SECURITY LIGHTING
With the dark nights upon us it could be a good opportunity to check your property is as secure as it can be. For example, you may wish to check there is enough outdoor security lighting at the property-this is particularly important if your property has steps or other features that may make it difficult to get around when it is dark and slippery
WRAP EXTERIOR PIPES
Frozen pipes can cause all sorts of problems, including flooding, so make sure you cut off any exterior water pipes by switching off the valves, emptying them of water beforehand. It is also a good idea to wrap any water pipes that run along exterior walls with heating tape in order to prevent them from freezing. This again will help you save money and energy on water heating bills by reducing the amount of heat that can escape the pipes.
Many people will choose to open a window to remove condensation within the home, the problem with this is that the weather outdoors tends to have more moisture and a higher humidity than indoors which will cause more condensation problems once you close the window.
Having humidity levels of 50% or higher in your home can damage your property and can make allergies and asthma problems worse. Condensation occurs when there is excess moisture in the air and nowhere for this moisture to naturally escape. Condensation can often be found on windows, however, too much condensation on windows too often will lead to damage on both internal and external walls.
CHECK WINDOW SEALS
Check the seals around your windows and doors. You can do this by simply running your finger around the seals, or you can use a tool such as a screwdriver to get in behind and check for hidden gaps. If you find any gaps or holes, fill them with caulk. If needed, get a professional in to repair or replace any more difficult or significant issues. The seals around your windows and doors can make all the difference to the temperature of your home, and can, therefore, help you save money on your winter heating bills. Don't forget to check around vents and places where exterior pipes enter the house which could be causing drafts.