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Autumn Maintenance Checks – How to Prepare your Home for the Cold Weather and Winter


Autumn maintenance checklist to keep your home in top condition. This project helps you to prepare your home for the cold weather and to last the winter months and ensure you don’t get any leaks or draughts. In this project we will run you through the checks you should be making including heating checks, servicing your central heating, checking your loft insulation, checking stopcocks and isolating valves, ensuring your air bricks and vents are clear, checking the condition of your roof and also clearing your drains, gutters and gullies.

As Autumn arrives it’s a good idea to finish all of the outside jobs before the cold weather sets in. This Autumn Maintenance Check Guide helps to ensure that you carry out all those end-of-the-year jobs that will protect and preserve your home and garden as we enter the colder wetter Autumn season.

Frost Damage
All external decorating should be finished and remedial work using sand and cement mortar should be done before the Autumn temperature falls, because frost can affect this sort of work badly.

Frost damage will affect the structural integrity of cement and mortar, and you don’t want to be doing the job twice! On a building site for example, sand and cement work is not allowed to commence unless the temperature is at least 3° and rising.

Heating Checks
Now is the time to check your heating is working. Don’t wait until you need it, give it a trial-run in Autumn to make sure that it is working properly. This means that if you need repairs to your boiler or heating system you can book it in before you really miss your central heating. It’s also handy to do this now as most plumbers’ prices rise during the winter.

Book a Central Heating Service
Preparing for the cold weather should be done now and your boiler, or other heating should be serviced (by a competent, registered person) in Summer or Autumn. Do not wait for cold weather to find out that something is not working properly.

Heating engineers get really busy at the beginning of the cold winter weather, as customers turn on their heating and find a pump has seized or a pilot light won’t light.

Beat the rush by booking your annual boiler service in the summer months. If you haven’t yet had your boiler serviced, it isn’t too late to find a registered local engineer. Check out the listings on Checkatrade to find an engineer who has been vetted by Checkatrade and rated by other customers. (there’s a link at the bottom of this page).

Expansion Tank Maintenance
If you have a feed and expansion tank in the loft you can carry out a simple test to make sure it’s working well, by moving the float arm up and down a couple of times while watching to check the valve lets in water and then shuts the water off.

Pipework in Your Loft
Check pipework in the loft is insulated. Pipes can be insulated using purpose-made pipe insulating foam tubes which are really easy to fit. They are usually a grey coloured dense foam tube. They simply slot over the pipes and help to prevent them freezing.

There are also special elbow joint insulating materials, which allow you to insulate bends and corners in your pipes, or you can tape insulating foam or tape around the bends.

Stopcocks and Isolating Valves
Check your loft for a stopcock and make sure all stopcocks (this applies to the whole house) are working.

Give isolating valves a quick turn and test to make sure they do turn off the supply.

Including these checks in your Autumn maintenance regime means that if you do get a water leak or a frozen pipe you can be confident that you can turn off the water supply.

Clear Drains, Gutters and Gullies
In late Autumn, when the leaves have fallen, remove leaves and other blockages from drains and gullies, and clean and repair leaking gutters and down pipes.

This prevents rainwater running down your walls and soaking into brick, stone, timber and render

While these surfaces will resist damp if they are in good condition if they become soaked over long periods of time they may allow water into the house, especially if the surface is damaged by freeze thaw action.

Check Outside Taps
If you have an external tap, make sure both the pipes and tap itself is insulated to prevent freezing.

If you haven’t got an outside tap add our fitting a outside tap project to your list for Spring.

Fit a Water Butt
There is unlikely to be a shortage of water over the winter period, but you can take advantage of seasonal special offers by buying a water butt and fitting it now. It will have plenty of time to fill up over the winter!

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