The clocks are going back, Christmas goodies are taking over the shelves and the rain is starting to fall, so how do you keep your home looking great through the winter months? At Refresh Renovations we’re all about creating your perfect home, whether it’s a new build, a character cottage or a rural mansion, but it’s important to remember that regular maintenance is crucial, especially in the winter months. There’s nothing worse than welcoming in the spring with a list of remedial tasks necessitated by a lack of maintenance during the winter.
Our top tips for winter maintenance for maximum benefit include the following:
Clear your gutters, downpipes and drains
We recommend doing this regularly, but especially after the fall of autumn leaves and twigs. An accumulation of leaves can quickly block your gutters, which in turn can lead to problems with leaks on flat roofs, as well as saturation, overflow and flooding at ground level. If water collects in blocked gutters there’s a risk of water continuously running down exterior walls and causing damp to set in. Stagnant water may also freeze in the gutters and downpipes resulting in them coming loose under the weight or even collapsing completely. Any cracks or gaps can expand to allow mice and squirrels to infiltrate. Blocked drains, meanwhile, are potential health hazards and can give rise to an infestation of unwelcome visitors such as rats and other vermin
Improve your insulation
There’s nothing worse than a cold draught coming through a gap in the window or under one of your doors, so now is a good time to give everything a check. As well as keeping the heat in and therefore saving energy, sealing any gaps will also help to prevent unwanted moisture from creeping in and causing condensation and damp. It’s worth remembering that up to 25% of the heat lost from a domestic property is via a poorly insulated roof, so we’d recommend taking a look and ensuring that the entire loft is covered with high-quality insulation.
Check your water tanks, pipes and outside taps
Problems with water tanks and pipes tend to come to light at the most inconvenient moments, and with the temperature dropping there’s an increased risk of pipes freezing and even bursting. Lagging all water tanks and pipes is a cost-effective way of preventing this, and also reducing heat loss, which can in turn save money on your utility bills as you are heating water more quickly and enabling hot water to stay hot for longer. As far as outside taps are concerned, we’d suggest turning these off for the winter, as they are also prone to freezing and bursting.
Cut back your trees
With the leaves probably having already fallen, the autumn is a good time to assess your trees and trim back branches that may be overhanging or growing close to your property. If any branches are looking vulnerable, it’s far better to cut them back now rather than wait for them to come down when the weather worsens. That said, it’s important to check before you start that the trees you’re looking to prune are not covered by a tree preservation order, especially if your property is in a conservation area.
Service your boiler
It’s good practice to have this done regularly in any case, and we’d recommend booking a service in as you head into winter. An inefficient boiler can be expensive to run and is liable to break down when you most need it, so we believe that investing in a thorough service is a wise idea. It’s worth noting that many modern boilers are equipped with an anti-frost setting and that can be beneficial if you’d prefer not to have the heating on regularly.
Keep the air flowing
When it’s cold outside, the temptation is to keep everything closed to keep the heat in, but it’s important to have good air flow all year round. Retaining heat can lead to condensation, which in turn causes damp, so it’s a good idea to keep window vents open all year round, in particular in the kitchen and bathroom so that warm air has a means of escape. Any moisture collecting on internal walls can generate mould, which is both unsightly and a health hazard. It is also good practice to make sure that your windows are open when you are drying clothes indoors.
As Simon Kelliher of Cambridge builders Refresh Renovations observes, it’s often the simple maintenance tasks that can have the biggest effect. ‘At Refresh we focus on helping homeowners to renovate or extend their property, but we’re also keen to educate them on how to keep their homes in great condition,’ says Simon. ‘Quick and easy maintenance tips such as lagging pipes and servicing the boiler can make a huge difference to your property and your family’s health and wellbeing over the winter months, so we’d encourage everyone to think seriously about what they can do now to prevent problems arising later.
‘When we’re renovating or extending we naturally address these areas and ensure that the property is good to go with really good insulation and clear gutters and downpipes, but it’s important to remember that any house is a living entity and circumstances do change over time.’
Refresh Renovations UK are Cambridge builders offering design and build services. To discuss how can bring your home extension or renovation to fruition, please get in touch today using the enquiry form listed alongside, or if you would like to submit a more comprehensive enquiry, you can do so on the Get In Touch page.
Refresh Renovations UK are Cambridge builders offering design and build services for home renovations and extensions. Check out Our Locations to find your nearest Refresh Renovations Branch. To discuss how Refresh can ensure your extension utilises the most appropriate materials, please get in touch today using the enquiry form listed alongside, or if you would like to submit a more comprehensive enquiry, you can do so on the Get In Touch page.
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Check out the costs involved in our house extension cost estimate.