Prepare Your Property For Winter
How to save money on winter property running & repair bills
You can save money on expensive property repairs and running costs in the depths of winter by addressing a few less expensive maintenance jobs before the clocks go back on the last Saturday in October.
Between September and mid October you may find that tradespeople are not as busy as usual. It’s a good time to address any property maintenance or repairs. Tradespeople might be willing to do work for slightly less as their diaries are not so full.
From November until Christmas most tradespeople are flat out busy getting jobs completed before seasonal holidays. So it makes them hard to find and probably more expensive.
1) Check your roof
Finding a roofer in Edinburgh to repair a roof when winter storms arrive can be like finding hens teeth. They are all too busy tending to the other damaged roofs or weather conditions can be such that it’s too dangerous to go on to a roof.
Have your roof checked while the weather is stable to prevent nasty winter surprises. HomeForce roofers will carry out a free, no obligation roof check.
What they will do:
- Check for loose or missing tiles or slates
- Check roof nails for signs of corrosion
- Inspect all cement skews and / or lead flashing
- Ensure all render (or harling / rough cast is sound)
- Make sure ridge tiles are sound
- Advise if valleys and water gates should be cleared
- When accessible check attics and loft spaces for damp or signs of water penetration
See HomeForce’s “Roofing Services” for more and to schedule a visit by a roofer.
2) Clear gutters and downpipes
The best time to do this is once the leaves are off the trees but before the first frost of the winter. If leaves cause a blockage in a downpipe then freezing water can expand in it causing it to crack.
Leaves left in a gutter can mean that in a heavy downpour water can over flow back under the eaves and damage internal walls.
Clearing the gutters and downpipes towards the end of Autumn will cost far less than replacing a downpipe and redecorating water damaged walls.
What to do:
- Clear leaves, twigs, moss, sand and other debris from gutters
- Check the joints and reseal as necessary
- Ensure support brackets are secure
- Make sure there are no blockages in down pipes
3) Boiler service
Servicing a boiler doesn’t guarantee it won’t break down on the coldest night of the year but can mean early warning signs of a break down are spotted. It also ensures the boiler is operating safely and efficiently meaning peace of mind and reduced fuel bills.
What to do:
- Contact HomeForce to organise a Gas Safe Registered Engineer. This isn’t a job to do yourself.
- It can be helpful to turn on and run the heating for a few hours before the Boiler Service is scheduled. This may highlight any issues that the Gas Safe Engineer should look into.
- CLICK HERE to see what a boiler service involves.
4) Cut out the drafts
Windows and doors are the main avenues for heat loss. If it’s too late in the year to start thinking about upgrading to double glazing, here are a few less expensive options.
What to do:
- Check that windows and doors are sound and closing properly.
- Fit “P Strips” round doors that rattle.
- Secure weather bars to the foot of external doors
- Put letter box brushes over letter box openings
- Fix door / window strips in place
See HomeForce’s “Joiner Services ” or “Handyman Services ” for more
5) Paint / treat bare timber
Many painters & decorators will decline to do outdoor work after October. (See why here)
Unpredictable weather can play havoc with work schedules. Also paint finishes just don’t last as long if temperatures drop soon after application or there is too much moisture in the air.
However, that doesn’t mean wood on doors, windows or even garden sheds should be left exposed. Left untreated and open to the elements timber can expand leading to a need to trim or rehang doors. When left exposed for long periods timber can decay leading to the need to replace it.
If it’s too late in the year to do a full paint job then at least prime timber that is to be painted at a later date and treat timber on gates, sheds or fences.
What to do:
- Ideally do all external painting between May and September
- Put a priming coat on any doors and windows (including sills & surrounds) as soon as they are fitted
- For rough cut timber used on sheds, gates, fences etc apply a suitable timber treatment.
- Check instructions on timber treatments for how often it should be applied
- Check instructions on exterior paint to see minimum application temperatures
See HomeForce’s “Decorator Services ” for more and to book a painter / decorator.
6) Repointing and render repairs
Render and pointing (the cement that protects or fills the gaps between bricks or stone) are the first line of defence against the elements.
If water gets into stone or brick work it can freeze and destabilise the structure of a chimney, wall or window.
It’s the kind of job many people put off until it’s a big job, but dealing with it early can save huge bills in the long run.
What to do:
- Check to see if pointing is loose or crumbling in brick / stone joints on walls and round windows
- Check for any cracks in render. Knock gently on any render you suspect may have come away from it’s subsurface. A hollow sound may mean it is compromised.
- Re-rendering and re-pointing are usually jobs for the professionals as the right mix of cement for the type of stone work is important to get right.
7) Prepare your garden for spring
If you’d like your garden to look great when Spring arrives then October & November are the months to get it into shape.
Leaving it until spring will probably cost more to get it looking good again. Spring is also a busy time for gardeners so finding one to do the work can be a problem.
What to do:
- Rake up leaves (and compost them)
- Clear beds of weeds
- Prune back shrubs, bushes and trees
- Plant spring bulbs (like tulips & daffodils)
- Mulch bare soil with compost
- Edge paths and beds
- Hang out bird feeders