Autumn property maintenance tips
Your property is probaby one of the biggest assets you own so it pays to look after it. Regular maintenance can prevent unexpected and high cost problems occuring. This helps you, your tenant and it helps your letting agent.
Autumn is the ideal time to make sure your property is in the best condition it can be for the cold, wet months ahead. Here are our 6 steps to Autumn Maintenance:
1. Check your radiators
- Switch on central heating systems and check for any problems.
- Bleed’ your radiators to make sure there is no trapped air, which can impact their efficiency.
- Check the pressure gauge on your boiler, which should typically be between 1 and 1.5 bar.
- Take a look at external pipework. If there are weaknesses in your external pipework, these can become catastrophic when the freezing weather hits. The team at Belvoir handled a large number of calls during the spell of snow last winter related to broken pipes. Check all the joints for signs of wear and also check (and if necessary replace) your pipe lagging.
2. Check your Carbon Monoxide monitor
- When you turn the heating on for the first time in a while there is a risk that if your boiler flue is blocked there may a Carbon Monoxide leak. All homes should have a Carbon Monoxide monitor, and this is the time to check it is fully functioning. If necessary, replace batteries (or the whole unit.)
3. Boiler service or inspection
- Having the boiler inspected and/or serviced should be at the forefront of any autumn MOT as a boiler breakdown can be expensive. A well-maintained boiler will burn less fuel, so having your boiler checked and your heating system serviced will save money and above all else, it could prevent a terrible tragedy. Don't be that disappointed person on the coldest day of winter who finds that the heating engineer can't fit you in for days and you have to pay more to resolve a problem than you would have done for a routine maintenance visit.
4. Draft prevention, saving energy & money
- With our winters expected to get colder and heating costs rising it’s important to make sure your property is well insulated and retaining as much heat as possible. Insert a window draft excluder in each room which will immediately stop draughts from entering a room and should make rooms cheaper to heat, all of which makes for happy tenants.
- Thick curtains can block draughts (but don't leave them hanging over the radiators thereby absorbing all the heat!). Consider lining curtains with a heavy material to reduce heat loss from a room.
5. Garden maintenance
- Autumn is also the right time to tidy up the garden. Clear away fallen leaves and trim shrubs/trees to remove dead branches and excess growth.
- Raise containers onto pot feet to prevent waterlogging and insulate outdoor containers and delicate plants from the frost – bubble wrap works well. Plant tulip, crocus or daffodil bulbs for a spring display next year. Bring all patio furniture in for the winter if you have space or cover it up to protect it from the elements.
6.Roofing and guttering
Clean out all gutters making sure that all outlets are clear of leaves and dirt. Check for, and repair, any leaking gutters. If a gutter is blocked and water backs up in it then as soon as there is frost it can cause extra damage e.g. pull away from the building. A backlog of water could ultimately burst the pipes causing an expensive mess to clear up.
Inspect the roof (carefully from the ground or a ladder!) for any broken, loose or missing slates/tiles/mortar or flashings, and any early signs of leaks or condensation on the ceilings - especially at the outer edges.
Belvoir Tunbridge Wells have a reliable and professional bank of contractors at our disposal with whom we have built long-standing good relations and it is this, with the dedication of the team in the office, that helps our landlords and tenants navigate the problems that inevitably arise with the minimum of drama and expense. We would like to thank all our contractors for their hard work, reliability and the positive support given to each case they have to deal with.
The above information was sourced from TrustMark, the Government endorsed 'find a tradesman' scheme and 'UK Landlord', Autumn edition. Advice on home maintenance is available on the NLA Advice Line 020 7840 8939.