In many northern hemisphere countries, icy winters that freeze trapped water around the home can cause expensive damage. We are lucky in Australia that we do not have to worry about water in our pipes and hoses freezing and expanding, and thus ruining our gear.
But there are still a few home maintenance tasks that should be carried out to ensure you keep your energy bills from soaring, your home’s components efficient and your property safe. And the sooner outdoor weatherproofing chores are done, the more pleasant it will be. No one likes to get on a ladder during a chilly thunderstorm to clean out gutters threatening to flood the house because they are jammed with autumn leaves.
We are now into the second month of autumn, and unclogging those gutters to ensure stormwater makes its way to where it is supposed to is an unavoidable task at this time of year.
I will also be checking my teenagers’ rooms for mould. They rarely ventilate their ‘caves’ and I have found in the past that winter condensation on their windows leads to mould and sometimes even rots the wooden frames.
Signs that mould may be appearing in bathrooms and laundries that become steamy over winter should also be monitored.
Teenagers also regularly leave small heaters on in their rooms when they go out. Being the first one out of the house, I worry that I will come home to a burnt-down house. So if you didn’t change the batteries in your smoke detectors when daylight savings ended, do it now in case an overlooked heater should cause a fire.
Like you, I despise my winter energy bills and actively look for ways to ensure electricity or gas is not wasted. Stop heat from your cosy home escaping through any draughts around windows and doors to the outside. Check their seals and make sure your weatherproof strips are doing their job.
American celebrity TV handyman Bob Vila has more tips for a pre-winter house check:
- examine wooden window frames for signs of rot or decay. Repair or replace framing to maintain structural integrity
- if you have a fireplace, have someone check the flue system to ensure that it is clean and that there aren’t any cracks that could cause a fire hazard. Also check the fireplace for draughts
- make sure fans are switched to the reverse or clockwise position, which will move warm air downwards
- if you haven’t had your roof inspected for a while, get someone to check for missing, damaged or warped tiles and other roofing material
- check for deteriorated flashing at the chimney, walls, around windows, doors ,and skylights and around vent pipes
- ensure all vents and openings are covered to prevent insects, birds, possums and rodents from getting inside to nest in a warm place
- trim overgrown trees back from the house to prevent wind-swept branches from causing property damage or a power problem.
Do you have any other useful tips for preparing your home for winter weather?
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