Autumn is here and there is a chill in the air which means it is time to start getting your home ready for the winter ahead. Even if you are living in a rental property, there are still a few checks that you can do now that could save you have to deal with unexpected problems - like broken boilers or burst pipes - this winter! Our maintenance manager Vicky Vanner told us find handy tips that will set you up for a hassle-free, cosy winter at home.
Now is a good time to get to grips with how your boiler and any thermostats work. You should find an instructions manual at your property and digital versions for most boilers are now available online. It is likely your boiler has been off over the summer months, so you should switch it on now to check it still works! If it is does not seem to be working, there could be a simple issue that you could fix yourself and we have a couple of videos on our tenant channel to show you how to reset your boiler or top-up a combi-boiler. If it seems to be more serious then you should report it as soon as possible via FIXFLO. Finally, if you head away over the festive period, it is best to leave the heating on low or set a timer so that the heating continues to come on regularly; helping reduce the likelihood of condensation and burst pipes.
We recommend you find out whether your stopcock is located! Water freezing in pipes during cold weather can cause them to burst, so you need to know how to turn the water supply off in the event of an emergency. When it comes to leaks these should always be reported to us immediately as small problems can quickly escalate into big and expensive problems.
Condensation problems tend to get worse in the Winter and can cause mould to form. It is important to maintain an even temperature throughout the property, allowing heat to circulate by keeping internal doors open and using draft excluders where necessary to improve insulation and reduce condensation. If possible, keep your windows open for a short time during the day to let in some fresh air. We also have a video on dealing with mould here.
Heavy rainfall and overflow from blocked gutters can cause damage to a property and inconvenience for you, so it is particularly important at this time of year to keep an eye on them. It’s unlikely you can keep them clear yourself, but you can check for any potential problems. The best way is to look at the house on a rainy day and if you notice water running down the windows or walls you should let us know.
It is important to check all external drains for any blockages and to ensure your tenant is keeping the area around them clear as during autumn an onslaught of leaves can lead to blocked drains. You should also ensure all exposed pipes are suitably insulated to avoid them freezing and bursting in colder weather and that the boiler has been recently serviced.
We also have a couple of numbers you should keep to hand in the case of an emergency:
TRANSCO: To report a gas or carbon monoxide emergency call 0800 111 999 - 24 hours a day.
UNITED UTILITIES: To report a water-related emergency call 0345 672 3723 - 24 hours a day.