Autumn Maintenance Checklist (Inside)
Autumn Maintenance Checklist (Inside)
If not already done, now is the time to organise, in these two articles we`ll firstly look inside and then outside the property. Internally you need to make sure:
The heating system has been checked ensuring it works properly; witness there is an in date valid gas certificate in the property, radiators do turn on & off and there are no visible leaks. If there is a solid fuel appliance confirm there is a certificate for the sweeping of the chimney/flu.
If there is a feed and expansion tank in the roof space, check the float arm works to let the valve allow water in and make sure there is a lid which fits securely – if not check the tank is clean and obtain a proper fitting lid to prevent debris from entering the water, helping to protect the system from the risk of legionella.
Plumbing can always be a nuisance, so make sure that any pipes in the roof space are adequately insulated to stop them freezing, the same applies on condensing boilers to the external overflow pipe as if this freezes the boiler stops working. Stopcocks need to be tested and replaced if faulty.
Check the roof insulation is in place, evenly spread, goes right out to the edges of the roof space as this prevents condensation/mould on the outer edges of ceilings below. Make sure that doors and windows shut effectively to prevent draughts, especially on letterboxes and weatherboards.
If there are any external air vents, make sure they are clear and drawing air.
In the kitchen check the cooker hood and any other air extraction appliances, to remove the issue over the build up of condensation during the colder months.
In the bathroom, check the air extractor fan is working and has not been turned off at the isolating switch. It would be wise in rooms that are known to be damp, to replace the air extractor with a humidistat fan that continues running until the moisture has been removed.
Lastly remind tenants not to dry wet clothes on the radiators and if desperate to do so, it is on a rack in one room with the door closed and windows open to ventilate the room removing as much moisture as possible.
Autumn Maintenance Checklist (Outside)
When it comes to the outside there a variety of areas that need checking:
The shell of the property is the main line of defence for preventing ingress of cold and moisture and for preventing valuable heat loss. Check the walls, for poor pointing, paint peeling or woodwork rotting. Repair any damaged external wood especially where it could allow water ingress. Of particular note are doors, windows, window sills and respective frames.
The facias and guttering as well as downpipes, making sure any dead leaves are removed. Check none of the air vents are blocked, and any air extractor vents are clear (especially cobwebs) so there is a good air flow.
If there are any external taps, make sure they are insulated to prevent freezing and subsequent fracturing.
In areas of extensive deciduous shrubs and trees, if the property is older it is sensible to get the drains checked for any potential pipe cracks, tree roots or blockages; as these are a lot easier to sort out over the next two months rather than in midst of a freezing winters day – probably considerably cheaper as well.
As daylight draws in, make sure there are no trip hazards on the paths to the house, on the drive and around the garden; Many surfaces which are fine in dry weather can become dangerously slippery if continuously damp and will need to be checked. If found to be slippery, the tenant will need to be warned, in writing, to be careful or avoid; and preferably the area be power washed to prevent the risks of slipping and falling over; special attention is needed for wooden decking which can become an “ice ring” if algae gets a grip.
The boundaries for hedges may need cutting back and fences that are loose or need treating, similarly for garden sheds and greenhouses.
Be aware of your landlord responsibilities, and just as importantly the vulnerability of your tenants – young, old and ailing need more care and attention! In many cases the means of access to the property, garage, garden and drying areas need to be monitored, because there is no alternative safe route – so daylight inspections are essential to be able to see and assess that everything is safe.