As the mercury rises, we share our top tips for homeowners, landlords and tenants to beat the heat and stay safe.
Don’t open windows
It may feel counter intuitive but opening windows – and external doors – during intense periods of hot weather will only let hot air in and won’t cool your home. If you are in the property during the night, it’s a good idea to keep windows open to let the cool air in but come sunrise, shut them again and close the curtains.
Keeping windows open, especially during the day when no one is around, will also invite Burglar Bill to come calling. As well as causing unnecessary heartache, this could also impact on your insurance should any claim need to be made.
If you want to keep the house cool, there are plenty of ways you can do so including putting tin foil on the inside of windows to reflect the sun’s rays. Shut all windows and doors once the temperature starts to rise and close the curtains. Also, it’s important to drink plenty of water, have cold or cool showers and stay out of the midday sun.
Water can become a scarce commodity during long dry spells so use it wisely. Install a water meter if you can and monitor what you are using. The grass, if you have a garden, does not need to be watered. It will survive despite going brown due to lack of moisture. Likewise, respect any hosepipe bans that come into force. One of the best ways to conserve water is to get at least one water butt for the garden. These need to be attached to the downpipe to collect as much rainwater as possible. If you can, invest in several as the more you have the more water you can save.
Store gas BBQs safely
Warm weather and a garden or outside space are the perfect recipe for cooking up a storm on the BBQ. However, as many of us have gas BBQs these need to be stored safely. Keep them out of direct sunlight and in a cool place. This will reduce the risk of the gas bottles exploding which can happen if they are exposed to intense heat for long periods of time.
Keep your gadgets cool
No, we don’t mean choosing the latest brands, but actually making sure our electronics don’t overheat. Laptops and mobiles can overheat in intense hot weather as can their lithium batteries which poses a fire risk. It is even more risky to charge them overnight as they can easily catch fire. Our advice is don’t charge them overnight, don’t take equipment outside in hot weather and turn them off when you feel they are getting too hot to handle. And if you do go outside with them, remember to bring them back inside with you – you don’t want another visit from Burglar Bill…
Our friends electric
As well as mobiles and laptops, it’s important to keep an eye on other electrical items to make sure they don’t overheat. Anything that needs charging should be done during the day when you are home rather than at night. Even using the dishwasher or washing machine overnight can be risky as breakdowns can mean waking up to a flood, or, a fire. If plugs and sockets get too hot they can cause fires or short circuit so check on them regularly. If you can, unplug items at night or if you are not using them and turn things off properly rather than leaving them on standby such as TVs.
Check your pipes
Burst pipes tend to be thought of as an issue in the winter. As the temperature dips, water freezes, the pipes expand and Houston we have a problem. However, hot temperatures cause the ground to become drier, so it’s more likely to move, which in turn can cause pipes to shift, become loose and warp in the heat. Therefore it’s worth checking them routinely throughout the year to avoid any damage.
Smoke and mirrors
House fires are common at this time of year and yet some can be easily avoided. Don’t have glass pendants hanging in the windows. These can reflect the sun’s rays into the home, onto a surface which can catch fire. Likewise, check the positions of mirrors in case they too are able to catch the sun and reflect back onto a surface.
Bricks and mortar
Extended periods of heat can cause havoc for a property’s foundations. When the ground becomes dry it shrinks and issues of subsidence become more common. So, check the brickwork throughout the year and learn to spot the signs of subsidence. These include cracks in walls, ceilings, brickwork and under windows; cracks in the plaster; outside doors not closing properly. Subsidence can also have issues financially. There may be more to pay for in terms of insurance and the sale price of the property will also be affected if there is subsidence.