Our homes are, of course, subject to wear and tear. Part of being a responsible home owner is remembering that properties require regular maintenance.
But where to start? Each season brings new challenges!
To try and help, we have come up with some top tips on how to care for your property all year round.
Advice for the spring
While the spring season is a mild one, there are still some important property maintenance tips to remember.
Remember to ventilate
Air bricks allow the movement of air around the walls and under the floors of a property. They prevent cold or damp air from sitting in any voids, which can result in costly damp issues.
Open any that have been sealed and ensure the rest aren’t blocked.
Have a spring clean
It’s always worth setting aside some time to give your home a deep clean. Unseen dirt can lead to complications for your property, including damp. Here are some important cleaning tips to help you care for your home:
- Clean up, touch up or replace tired grout
- Wipe down your walls with hot, soapy water
- Make windows sparkle – inside and out
- Wash all your skirting boards
- Empty and clean the kitchen cupboards - and purge the contents
- Launder your curtains - either wash them yourself or have them dry-cleaned. Vacuum your blinds for ease
- Refresh your floors – get behind and underneath your large items. Consider renting a carpet cleaner for carpeted areas
- Freshen up soft furnishings – give cushions a vacuum. Wash (or replace) cushion covers
- Have a de-clutter – this can be very therapeutic!
Don’t underestimate the summer
Caring for your home throughout the year is essential - many of us get lazy in the summer! While it may not have the harsh nature of winter, summer still brings its own set of challenges.
Maintain the garden
- As summer approaches, trim back any overhanging tree branches
- Keep the lawn mowed
- Get weeding – around beds and cracks in the patio. Remove the root of the weed to delay their prompt return. You could fil patio cracks with sand or cement as a preventative measure
- Get planting – this helps prevent weed growth. Lay some mulch around your plants to keep the more persistent weeds back.
- Keep your beds, pots and baskets well-watered during summer months
- Watch out for trip hazards- ensure the paving stones on any paths are flat
- Clean up your decking – be mindful of splinters
- Pressure-wash your patio
Autumn property care
The temperature begins to cool down in the autumn months, however you still have some time to prepare your property for the winter months. Here are some ways to take care of your home:
On the outside of your property
- Check exterior walls (and indoor plaster) to look for cracks. If significant, these cracks suggest your property is subsiding
- Check that there’s no unwanted vegetation growing nearby which can potentially cause damp, or damage exterior brick work
- Repoint brickwork where necessary
- If your property hasn’t been painted in a while, and is looking a little tired, then now is a good time to get it weatherproof for winter.
- Prevent ivy and other climbing plants from growing up your walls and around your windows as they can damage brickwork, block gutters and potentially allow water ingress which could lead to damp
Get chimneys swept
Ensure your chimney / flue is swept annually before you light a fire or start using your log burner. You have no idea of your roof line activity or what may have been dropped down your chimney.
If you don’t already have one, installing a chimney cap isn’t a bad idea.
Chimney sweeps are at their busiest from October so book ahead to ensure you can use your fireplace safely.
- Check your roof tiles - make sure tiles haven’t slipped or become damaged or cracked, as this can result in damp. Replace any that are broken.
- Clear guttering - try and clean gutters annually, preferably at the end of autumn when all the leaves have fallen from the trees. Blocked gutters can result in water overflow, leaks and the risk of water damage from damp.
Get your property prepared for winter
Stay frost free
It’s advisable never to leave a house without heating for more than a day or two in very cold weather.
If you’re going to be away, the easiest way to do this is to set your boiler on a timer.
Make sure all pipes in the roof or in any outbuildings are well insulated to prevent them from freezing and bursting during very cold spells.
If you’re worried about heating bills- burst pipes are much costlier!
Have your boiler serviced
This minimises the potential of it breaking down just as the temperature drops.
Be mindful that this is usually a busy time for engineers, so if you can get booked in around September, you’ll be ahead of the rush.
At the same time bleed your radiators to remove any air bubbles which can prevent the central heating from working efficiently.
All year round
The following are our tips on how to care for your property all year round. Some maintenance isn’t seasonal!
How to avoid damp
Follow these tips to avoid the build-up of condensation that causes damp:
- When cooking, use extractor fans, open a window and shut the door to prevent steam spreading around the house
- Open the window when bathing or showering, turn on the extractor fan and keep the door shut during and afterwards
- Put lids on pans when cooking
- Vent your tumble dryer adequately
- Consider using a dehumidifier to help speed up air-drying clothes
Learn some basic DIY
- Taps- Sort out any dripping taps right away. If it’s a leaking showerhead, for instance, then replace it. Even if it’s not leaking, the showerhead could probably do with some descaling
- Windows- Check there’s no condensation on your double glazing- as this could result in wet rot. Replace missing caulking and repair/paint wooden window panes if necessary
- Toilet- Tighten a loose toilet seat if you notice it moving
Test and replace smoke alarms
Maintaining your smoke alarm is an essential part of caring for your property.
If your smoke alarm is connected to the mains, ensure it has a backup battery, just in case of a power cut. It’s advised that batteries are replaced every 12 months and the detector is changed every five years.
All smoke alarms should be manufactured to British safety standards– beware of cheap alternatives.
Smoke alarms are easy to maintain, and the fire service suggest testing them each time the clocks change.
Give them a gentle vacuum to remove any dust that may have settled in them.
To make sure you don’t forget to check your alarms you can use this free reminder service.