Winter is coming and you should prepare your home before it's too late. The recent storms in the Cape provide clear evidence for the need to ensure that your house doesn't leak and won’t be vulnerable to damage.
Before we get into our top tips, the first thing you should do is set up a good home inspection. We place a high value on regular inspections of all the properties we maintain to keep abreast of potential issues, and offer a comprehensive home inspection as one of our services. A home inspection ensures that you don't miss even one element of preparation.
We highly recommend a professional inspection, but there are also things you can (and should) check yourself. Attention to detail is key which is why we've highlighted five areas you need to give special treatment and tips about how you can inspect them.
Leaks are friends to no-one
Two major problem areas during winter are water and moisture penetrating a property from above or below. Consider the roof first; look for loose tiles or roofing sheets that may let rainwater in. Also, inspect the flashing between different elevations to see if an area is raised.
Tip: an easy way to do this is to climb into the roof space and see if any light gets in.
Avoid all window pain
Your next focus should be on external wall foundations and windowsills. Calking, beading or putty can peel away from the window frames exposing sills and panes. This can really be a pain, as even small hairline cracks can let moisture into the wall and cause bubbling in the paint over time.
Tip: check the outside walls for exposed waterproofing.
Dampened walls and spirits
Rising damp on internal walls can be disheartening because it’s a difficult problem to solve. Is there a constant stream of water from a gutter running down the wall? Is there an irrigation spray that always wets the wall? You may need to call in an expert if the source of the problem isn't obvious.
Tip: check that the damp proof course (DPC) is not damaged. This is a layer of waterproof lining that should exist in all homes.
Don't get a security shock
Once your home is water tight, you can start to look at security. Ensure that nothing is in front of any alarm beams to prevent them being set off unnecessarily. Check that electric fences are clear and in full working order with no overgrown bushes obstructing them. Cut and trim any overhanging or dead branches near electric fences.
Tip: service the electric fence so that it's properly earthed - wet weather can often cause shorts, and this can set off false alarms.
Light up your life
Winter has shorter daylight hours so it’s important to check that all external lights are working. Whether they're sensory lights or garden sensors, all require regular inspection. If you use timers to switch them on and off, adjust these according to when the sun rises and sets. If you have solar lights, make sure they're in appropriate spots to maximise catching the sun.
Tip: even if your lights are in working order, buy some torches and extra candles in case you have an emergency.
Finally, staying warm in winter is something to aim for! Check elements like underfloor heating, central heating and fireplaces for any problem areas. If you have a thatched roof, be sure to get the chimneys cleaned of excess soot from last winter. To build a roaring open fire you’ll need plenty of dry wood, so make sure that log storage is not exposed to the elements.
Contact us if you’d like help with an inspection or for more information on 021 801 3946 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.