Winter is now upon us! It’s a good time to prepare for the risks that the colder months can bring.
Taking time to draw up a to-do list may help to ensure you have a trouble-free winter.
Here are our tips to help tenants keep their property safe and in good condition.
Preparing in advance
There are certain steps you can take to help avoid issues that are more prevalent in winter. YOU can be prepared if something does go wrong.
Flag any issues with the property as soon as you notice something isn’t right. Even if it’s the slightest drip or smallest crack, such issues can get worse if left, and if unmonitored, might not be caught until the damage has already been done.
Keep contact details up to date
This is essential if we need to visit the property or send a professional for maintenance or repair work.
Check Your Boiler
Is your boiler pressure at the correct level? If not, this can lead to boiler leaks, no heating or hot water. You should regularly check the pressure gauge especially if you have just bled the radiators. When the boiler if off, it should be sitting around 1 and when on, between 1 and 2. You can increase the pressure in the boiler by using the filling loop to put more water into the system. First thing you must do is find the filling loop. – this could either be under the boiler attached to the isolation valves, under the boiler with a big silver loop joining two pipes together, or somewhere else in your heating system. Other typical places to look include under your kitchen sink, in a cupboard, behind a pipe box near the boiler, or next to the boiler. There are numerous videos online which can help you with this.
Locating the stopcock
To help reduce the risk of frozen pipes this winter, make sure you know where the stopcock is that will turn off the incoming water supply.
Avoiding frozen pipes
During very cold weather, the risk of frozen and burst pipes can increase. The water in pipes can freeze, which might then expand. This can cause a build-up of pressure that can rupture a pipe, leading to water damage in the property.
Avoid frozen condensate pipes.
This is easily done. If you have a condensing boiler in your property, it will have a condensate pipe carrying away wastewater from the boiler to a waste pipe system or outdoor drainpipe. Pipes running to outdoor drainage are more susceptible to freezing – a gurgling noise from the boiler is an indication of this. A frozen pipe means the boiler won’t start, meaning you will be left without heating or hot water. The exterior pipe is usually white plastic, so ensure you know where it is. If the water inside the pipe freezes, you need to pour warm water along the pipe until the ice inside begins to melt and falls out. NEVER use boiling water as this could damage the pipe, leading to further issues. Once the pipe is clear, you can restart the boiler by following the instructions in your boiler manual. If you cannot locate your boiler manual, please contact the office with the make and model of your boiler or look on the internet as most major manufacturers have these available to download free of charge.
Keep the property suitably heated
You must adequately heat the house throughout the winter months. This can help to avoid issues such as damp and mould as well. In the current climate, many tenants will choose to go without heating to save money. Doing this runs the risk of frozen/ burst pipes which if occur, will not only disrupt your living accommodation, but will also have costly implications for your landlord. Turning your heating on for a couple of hours in the morning and late afternoon/early evening on a low setting will keep the heat flowing through your system.
Preparing for bad weather
Storms can be common at this time of year and can pose a threat to your property at their most severe.
Check the external condition of the property
Please keep an eye on the outside of your home. If you notice any leaking drainpipes, they may need attention to avoid potential water damage. Gutters may also need clearing of fallen leaves or fixing from damage caused by high winds at this time of year.
What to do if there’s a storm
If a storm is forecasted, keep all windows and doors shut and store away garden furniture and other unsecured items such as plant pots from around the property. If you are going away, ensure the property is secured against bad weather before you leave.
Going away for the holiday season
If you’re going away on holiday for an extended period, this can expose the property to risks that are more prevalent for unoccupied properties. Please let us know when your leaving and returning.
Secure the property when it’s empty
You have a responsibility when they go away to ensure doors and windows are closed and securely locked, and any valuables should be stored out of sight.
Set up ways to make the home look occupied
If there is smart technology in the property that allows you to control the lights from wherever you are, you can use these to make it appear as though someone is home. Individual light timers and television simulator lights can also work as a deterrent.
Turn off the water supply
To help avoid escape of water issues, turn the water supply off at the mains before you go away.
Pre-emptively protecting your property
Our periodic inspections throughout the year allow us to keep an eye on any possible maintenance issues that may develop. Please work with us and allow access to your property to ensure any issues are identified and resolved quickly
Despite your best intentions, issues with your let property can still occur. Please contact us immediately if you have any concerns.