It may be the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness but autumn is also the time to get our homes ready for the winter. Demand for professional tradespeople begins to increase as we approach the colder, wetter months of winter so to avoid waiting weeks on end if the worst does happen, plan ahead to avoid a winter of discontent.
Landlords should get the boilers in their rental properties serviced every year, but it makes sense for owner occupiers to do the same. It can cost between £60 and £120 for a service check or up to £500 for a power flush and repair. Getting in a gas engineer now will be easier than waiting til things go wrong and potentially having to wait ages for someone to come out thus meaning a lack of hot water and heating when you need it most. They will also be able to show you how to reduce the flow of the boiler which could also help you save a bit of money on your energy bills.
As well as the boiler, don’t forget to make sure your radiators are in good working order before it gets too cold. Bleed them to clear any air that may be in the system, check they are not cold at the bottom and hot at the top, and if you can, get a plumber to flush the system. Check also they are not rusty or leaking. Sludge can build up inside them and if it’s left to build up it can do damage by creating holes in them and thus leaving them susceptible to leaks.
No one wants blocked, burst or frozen pipes, so make sure they are insulated. Fitting pipe jackets can be done for as little as £50 which is obviously cheaper than getting a plumber in once the damage has been done.
Now is the ideal time to check your brickwork. Inadequate brickwork pointing can lead to water ingress and this can cause frost damage and damp. Acting now before the colder, wetter weather arrives is a smart move and will be cheaper than leaving it for issues to get worse.
People only tend to notice if there are problems with a roof when it starts to leak. So, before the rain, wind and potentially snow properly starts to arrive, give the roof the once-over for missing or cracked tiles. Roof inspections are not cheap at about £250, but it is a false economy to wait for drips, or leaks to occur, creating more damage and resulting in more expense.
Windows and Doors
Doors and windows can lead to a significant amount of heat loss and rainwater ingress if they are not aligned properly. Any water coming in will cause damp which can contribute to medical conditions such as asthma and heat loss will have a big impact on energy bills – something which is causing considerable anxiety at the moment. So, inspect all doors and windows to ensure they open properly, open and clean them regularly, check for condensation and replace any if necessary.
Now is the time to get the chimney swept and inspected for any damage and repointing issues. Sweeping will improve the efficiency of the chimney and just like the roof, giving the exterior the once over now can save you financially in the long run. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of getting this job done regularly. Also, getting a sweep in now will be easier than waiting til the depths of winter when they will no doubt be inundated with requests for help!