Most of you will have noticed that it is getting colder out there just now. With frost clinging to walls and pipes and snow potentially on the way, everyone at Wise Property Care has been thinking about how the cold weather could affect properties up and down the country.
Here are some top tips for combating the most prevalent property problems experienced during the winter:
Winter property problem 1: Condensation
The problem: Condensation is caused when warm air meets cooler air, or a cooler surface, and has to release some of its moisture as a result. This moisture can result in black mould growing on windowsills, walls and skirting. In a poorly ventilated house, simply turning the heating on and filling your house with warm air can be enough to cause a condensation problem.
The solution: Condensation can be treated in a number of ways but in our experience we have found that simple lifestyle changes can often be condensation killers. By keeping lids on pots when cooking in the kitchen or allowing steam from the shower to exit out the bathroom window, you can significantly reduce the amount of moisture retained in your home.
Dehumidifiers are another good way to reduce the humidity of a home, but it is important to make sure you have the correct model for the size of your property – a 4 bedroom semi will need a much bigger model than a small flat. Mould sprays and anti-mould paint additive will also help the fight against black mould.
These are, of course, only solutions for the symptoms of a condensation problem and not an overall cure. To completely eradicate persistent condensation issues, the ventilation of your property must be improved. One of the best ways to achieve this is by installing a positive pressure ventilation system to filter and process the air in your home, keeping humidity levels at a pleasant and consistent level.
Winter property problem 2: Frozen pipes
The problem: When frozen water pipes burst they can cause a right old mess by gushing water right through a property. At Wise Property Care, we often see water damage to timbers and floor boards leading to wet rot or dry rot. Add to this, the fact that burst pipes can be very expensive to fix, and you can see why pre-empting frozen pipes is important.
The solution: If you think your pipes are frozen, then we would recommend turning off the water supply first of all, there is no point in exacerbating the problem. Then we would move onto clearing the area around the frozen pipe, so the damage is minimized, just in case the pipe does burst. Lastly, begin the process of thawing out. A hot water bottle or hairdryer work well for thawing pipes, but remember if you are using a hairdryer then keep it away from water – you do not want to electrocute yourself in the name of property care.
Winter property problem 3: Frozen Paths
The Problem: Did you know that you have a duty of care towards anyone coming onto your property? This means that if your paths are slippery and dangerous and the postie slips and injures him or herself then it is your fault.
The Solution: When the snow arrives, it can often be better to leave a blanket of snow than to half clear the path. A thin layer can compress down and turn to a layer of ice but a blanket of snow is far less likely to be slippery. However, the best option is to remove all of it then add grit to prevent further freezing. If you don’t have access to grit, then table salt can be extremely effective to help clear paths. 1 tablespoon can treat around 1 square metre.
Winter property problem 4: Clogged gutters and pipes
The Problem: During the autumn it is likely that leaves have blown into gutters and drain pipes. If the gutters become blocked and there is a heavy rain or snowfall the blocked gutters can cause the water to enter the roof space. Also, if there is a big freeze the weight of the frozen debris can bring the gutters crashing down.
The Solution: A fairly simple one, you should clear your gutters so that the water can run freely into the drainpipes. Just make sure you have a firm footing on your ladders, particularly if there is ice on the ground around your property.
Winter property problem 5: Broken boilers and central heating
The Problem: Hot water will get used more often throughout the colder months - this is why there are often more boiler breakdowns in the winter. The last thing you want is a broken boiler over Christmas with all the family at home!
The Solution: Arrange for an engineer to come and take a look at your boiler and central heating before any problems occur. They will be able to ensure that everything is in working and optimal order.
Combating the cold
If you think you are fully prepared for winter, then sit back get your slippers on and enjoy a nice cup of cocoa. If not, remember you can always get a hold of the property experts at Wise Property Care by phoning us on 0800 65 22 678 or using our online contact form.