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written by naomi baron

How to Ensure you Avoid Emergency Expense over Winter

As we head into the festive season, it’s important to remember that we’re also heading into colder weather.  What does this mean for landlords?  Well, it is at this time of year that calls about broken down boilers become most common.  As we get deeper into winter then the risk of pipes bursting increases and the important of winter home maintenance becomes even more important.

There are several things that both tenants and landlords can do to both protect their property, and help make their tenants more comfortable and therefore more likely to stay in the property longer term.

Check out your Pipes!

Frozen pipes can cause a huge amount of damage resulting in tenants potentially having to move out to get leaks and resulting damage repaired.  Pipes burst because they can freeze in colder weather which causes water expansion leading to cracks in the pipe.  We always advise tenants to keep their heating on throughout the winter months and if they are on holiday during this period then ideally, they should drain down the system.  An even better way of preventing frozen pipes is to install insulation on pipes as this is fairly inexpensive and is easy to install

Regular Maintenance

Make sure that your boiler is serviced regularly to try and increase their lifespan.  Of course, it makes more sense to conduct this check earlier on in the year – Autumn is a good time of year to have it done, as any issues should be noticed and can be rectified early, which will prevent an emergency call out.  Ask your tenant to check that the radiators are warm all over - if they aren’t then they may need bleeding. In doing this they will work better and will also save money on energy bills for your tenants so it’s a win win!

Get Insulated

A common complaint from tenants is that their house is cold.  The answer is not to spend more money by firing up the heating for longer.  More often than not, coldness is caused by draughts which can come through small gaps in door and window frames.  You can prevent this from happening by installing inexpensive draught strips on window frames which can be sourced from most DIY stores.

Keep it out of the Gutter

The autumn leaf fall can cause a build-up of leaves and debris in gutters and drainpipes.  This can lead to a build-up of water which can then spill out onto the roof and down the walls of the properties which worst case scenario means it could find a way in.  To reduce the risk of water damage, you must make sure that gutters are kept clear.  Ideally, they should be cleared in October/November and then again in the Spring.