With the autumn months upon us, you may be preparing your wardrobe for the colder, damper weather by swapping out sundresses for cozy jeans and cardigans for winter jackets — complete with last year's receipts and that bonus bit of loose change.
But have you put any consideration into getting your home ready for the autumn and winter temperatures?
This time of year, when the evenings still offer a soft glow and the temperatures are more manageable, is the perfect time to consider checking over your house and carrying out necessary repairs and maintenance to ensure you will be well protected during harsher weather.
Keeping your home well maintained is not only important for ensuring the comfort and warmth of your family, but it keeps you safe from illnesses associated with damp or cold living conditions.
Consider Your Energy Bills
This is not only good for your family, but it's good for your pockets. Keeping your home maintained has a positive effect on your energy bills so carefully check the following around your home.
Consider Your Health
During the colder months, when you are more likely to stay indoors and around other people, colds and illnesses can quickly spread. Consider these housing checks to ensure your home isn't making you ill.
Your boiler works hard in the autumn months, when the chill rolls in. But it works even harder in the winter, when temperatures can drop below freezing. Make sure your boiler has had its annual check by a qualified gas engineer before it gets too late in the season. Any repair calls in the winter are going to take longer, and no one wants to be left in the cold.
With boiler maintenance comes a radiator check, but this one you can do yourself. Regularly bleeding your radiators releases the trapped air that gets into the system and causes inefficient heat transfer, resulting in higher radiator bills.
You can check for trapped air in your radiators by feeling them as they heat up. If you notice cold spots toward the top, your radiators need bleeding. If you notice your radiators making lots of noises, such as gurgling, this can also be a sign of trapped air in the system.
While your indoor pipes will be safe against frost and ice, your outdoor pipes are less protected without sufficient insulation. Lagging pipe insulation can be picked up inexpensively from any good heating merchants or DIY store. It can also be easily wrapped around outdoor pipes to prevent burst and frozen pipes.
Hot Water Cylinder
If you have one of these in your house, ensure it has a well-fitting insulated jacket, as this prevents huge amounts of heat loss.
Insulation Around the Home
A huge amount of heat is lost in the home through drafty areas like cavity walls, and more commonly, the roof. Ensuring that these areas are sufficiently insulated can save over $100 a year on your energy bills. Undertaking roof insulation is no small feat, but there are plenty of informative guides available.
Health and Safety
When the cold hits, you are more likely to be running some sort of heating appliance in your home, whether it's a fireplace or a boiler. Don't forgo the safety of your family. Ensure you have a carbon monoxide monitor fitted on all levels of your property.
Clear Your Gutters
Overflowing or clogged gutters can lead to leaks and improper water flow. If water is constantly flowing or dripping down external walls, your home is vulnerable to penetrating dampness, which can encourage mold and fungi growth indoors.
These types of growth are renowned for releasing spores into your home, and spores can trigger allergic reactions or increase the likelihood of coughs and colds. If you are already suffering from penetrating dampness, you may need to speak to your local damp-proofing company to solve the problem.
Check Your Roof
Your roof is a staple of your home, protecting you from the elements and improving the stability of your property. If your roof is damaged or leaking, not only can this lead to damp conditions and rot in attic spaces (which, like mold growth, can trigger allergies), but can also eventually lead to structural defects that can be costly to repair.
Your roof is also great protection against pests like insects, birds and rodents which can cause damage to roofing structures, particularly if you are suffering from damp which can cause the perfect environment for woodworm beetles. If you suspect your property is suffering from an infestation, you may need to seek professional help to get rid of woodworm in your home.
Prepare Your Garden
Have you got trees on or nearby your property that could be susceptible to damage from high winds? Make sure to cut back any problematic branches that could potentially come crashing down on your home or belongings. Similarly, in the garden, ensure all loose items or furniture are either safely packed away in sheds or garden buildings and bolt down anything too big to store.
When it comes to general home maintenance, it's always better to be prepared against the worst possible outcome. Keeping on top of small jobs during the year could save you a large payout should the worst happen.
So, make sure you get around your property before the weather changes.