The colder months are creeping up on us, but before we find ourselves in the depths of winter, there are a number of property maintenance projects that need to be ticked off the list of things to do this autumn.
Autumn property maintenance checklist
If your roof is in need of repair, don’t wait until it starts leaking before you decide to get it fixed. Roofing maintenance isn’t cheap (which is why people are inclined to put it off), ignoring a problem however, can cost you in the long run as a small leak can cause a lot of damage if left.
Some problems can be spotted from the ground: you might be able to see some missing or lose tiles. When it comes to replacing them there’s only one way to do it and that’s going up a ladder – not for the faint hearted. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s worth getting a roofer to do this for you, it will only cost a couple of hundred pounds to put small problems right and it will insure a quality job is done. If a tile is replaced badly or others are displaced in the process, more damaged can be caused, resulting in a bigger bill to fix the resulting problems down the line.
If you don’t have a head for heights you can look for tell-tale signs of leaks in your loft space. After it’s been raining, check for puddles of water, mould or wet insulation. If you find any signs of dampness you’ve probably got a leak. If there’s wetness or damp around pipes or chimney breasts, this is probably due to a damaged flashing. A leak anywhere else in the loft space suggests there is a problem with the roofing material, such as a loose tile.
Twigs and fallen leaves clog up guttering during the autumn months. Once the leaves have dropped from the trees around your property it’s well worth clearing your guttering to make sure rain water can flow off efficiently. It’s one of those jobs that people forget to do, until their gutters get blocked, that is!
To clear guttering you simply need to scoop out any debris and rinse by running a hose pipe down them. This is a straight forward job that should be done annually. It involves going up and down a ladder (a lot) as you will need to move it along every few feet to clear each section of guttering.
Clearing guttering might not seem like an important job to get done, but a backed-up gutter can cause structural damage to your property and at the least, damage the mortar and cause a leak. It’s worth calling in a roofer to inspect your roof and make running repairs in the autumn and they can then clear your gutters at the same time.
Windows and doors
Check paintwork for signs of cracking. If the paint has cracked, or has started to split, the damaged area will need to be sanded back and re-painted, to prevent frost getting into the woodwork and causing rot.
Wooden windows and doors can last up to 50 years (if looked after properly), compared to the 20-year average life of uPVC. Woodwork should be re-painted every 5-10 years, however, north-facing woodwork will be hit harder by the weather so may need more regular/ interim maintenance. If woodwork is neglected for too long it will need to be replaced completely. For that reason, if your woodwork does require maintenance, it’s well worth getting it re-painted before the winter strikes to prevent further damage over the winter months.
Draught proofing your windows and doors is one of the cheapest ways to save energy around the home and it could save you around £80 a year (figure from the Energy Saving Trust). By reducing drafts you’ll be able to turn your thermostat down and save money on your energy bills.
Draught proofing a door only costs a couple of pounds to do the key hole, letter box and the gap under the door. To draught proof windows, stick draught-proofing strips around the window frame to fill the gap between the window and the frame. It will cost about £200 for a tradesman to draught proof your home and you’ll really notice the difference when it’s done!
Mid October, that’s when most of us turn our heating on. It’s also when heating engineers are at their busiest, fixing lots of broken down boilers, because 43% of us don’t get our boilers serviced annually. It’s far more cost effective to have your boiler serviced every year, rather than waiting for it to break down before it sees a heating engineer.
Heating systems are a property maintenance project that needs to be left to the professionals. Only Gas Safe registered heating engineers can legally carry out any gas related work, such as boiler maintenance. A boiler service will cost between £50 and £80 for a standard efficiency boiler and £80 to £160 for a high-efficiency condensing boiler.
If you only tick off one autumn maintenance project this year, make sure it’s boiler maintenance so you stay safe and warm this winter.
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