Our home maintenance checklist for winter will help you get organised.
It seems like just yesterday we were talking about Autumn projects to tackle, and yet here we are in the last month before winter. Time flies when you’re… stuck inside?
We’ve put together a list of things that are easy to do, but just as easy to miss.
Below are 16 home maintenance jobs you can tick off your list before the cooler months arrive
Control mould and mildew
Prevention is easier than treatment for mould and mildew. Check around your house for spots that are prone to leaks, condensation or lack of airflow. This can result in built up moisture and later, mould. Something as simple as cracking open windows to let air in can help. To really eliminate the problem, consider investing in double glazed windows, central heating or proper insulation to keep mould and mildew under control. If you find A4 sized mould in your home, contact a specialist and have it tested, as this is the general size guide for when it can negatively affect your health.
Maintain fireplace and chimney
Planning on using your fireplace this winter? Right now is a great time to get your chimney cleaned of debris and checked for cracks. Hidden dangers like these can compromise the safety and efficiency of your chimney. Remember to inspect your firewood shelter to ensure it’s nice and dry.
Check heating system
Ensure your heating system is prepped for winter by getting a heating specialist to change the air filters, clear PVC vent pipes of any obstructions, and clean the boiler and gas systems. If you’re looking to reduce heating costs longer term (and minimise humidity and mould in the house), you could consider investing in central heating.
If you’re not the gardening type, or just haven’t had time to tidy up the leaves this season, it’s a good idea to get this done before higher rainfall averages come our way. Cleaning out your gutters will help to prevent water damage to your roof and potentially other parts of your house. Get the brackets that secure the gutters, and spouts, checked when you have them cleaned. They may have become unclipped over time and can fall down in a storm (right when you need them).
Prevent freezing pipes
Insulate pipes which are near windows, doors and parts of the home that are unheated and likely to go below freezing. It’s best practice to insulate all hot water pipes everywhere they run, in the interests of conserving energy.
Prune bushes and trees
Bushes and trees are the lesser known culprit of moisture in the home. Get them trimmed back to leave space for ventilation between the greenery and the house. By pruning overgrown branches near electrical wires or your roof, you can prevent damage to your property from bad weather.
Flush hot water tank
Flushing your hot water tank will remove sediment build up and help lengthen the product life. Handy tip: You can insulate older tanks by wrapping a thick, purpose-made blanket around it – found at most hardware stores. This will help prevent heat loss, conserve energy and save you money.
Double glazed windows can reduce the chill from outside, and in the long term, save you money on heating inside. It also reduces condensation on windows, which means less likelihood of mould and mildew. Read more about glazing measures and choices in Chapter 5 of our home renovation story, Project Home.
Check walkways and driveways
Before the morning frosts set in, it’s a good idea to check any walkways or driveways around your home. You can prevent slips and injuries by making sure walkways are slip-free and handrails are secure. If any concrete spaces need to be fixed up, now is the time, as concrete doesn’t set well in cold weather.
Thermal backed curtains can prevent heat escaping through windows and doors during the colder nights. Properly fitted curtains can be just as good as double-glazing for insulating homes. Handy tip: If you’ve got old curtains sitting around, you can hang them behind your current ones to create a layered effect.
Check for tiles and screws that are loose, rusty – or worse – missing. Get a roofer to secure or replace these to prevent leaks, rust and potential damage that could be caused by loose items in a storm.
Inspect outdoor lighting
Check lights and motion sensors are working, or install outdoor lighting in dark areas to help prevent slips on walkways and driveways.
Good insulation means your heating system doesn’t have to be on overdrive all winter long – and it can save you money. Check that your attic and crawl spaces are properly insulated. You can also feel for draughts under doors to block air leaks, either temporarily or permanently.
Did you forget about these?
Check smoke and carbon dioxide detectors
The rule of thumb for checking these at the end of daylight savings was pushed to the side this year. It’s a good idea to run a test and if needed, change the batteries. However, if you’ve got a hardwired or mains powered detector, only a licenced electrician can replace or install them.
If your gardening tools are scattered around your backyard, it’s time to put them away out of the elements – tools like rakes, shears, and shovels are most affected. A handy tip: use a light coating of vegetable oil to help prevent rust.
Plan winter garden
Pre-planted flowers can brighten up your garden in winter, and it’s also a good planting time for perennials that bloom in the spring or summer. If you’re looking to plant a winter veggie garden – think radish, beetroot and leafy greens.
There’s plenty of time left to get the important jobs done before winter comes, but if you need a hand with some of the less exciting ones, post a job today to find a tradesperson who can help.