Even though the chilly winter frost has already arrived in the capital, it doesn’t mean it’s too late to winterproof your home. Here are some easy maintenance ideas to keep your house warm, cosy and safe throughout the season.
Stay safe and warm
As the temperature drops across the capital, you’ve probably already started to use your heating system, but is it working efficiently? It’s never too late to check.
If you have a gas heating system, get a qualified gasfitter to service it – you should schedule maintenance on your gas heating system every two years to keep it operating effectively and safely, in particular, to ensure that it’s not leaking carbon monoxide (CO).
If you have ducted heating or a reverse-cycle system, check that there is air flow coming from every vent. Remove dust and dirt from vents and filters and check that furniture, window furnishings and other household items are a safe distance away.
For a wood-burning fireplace, clean your chimney and flue of any old ashes and debris before you use it. For safety, install a fire screen in front of open fires.
If you have electrical or oil heating appliances, thoroughly check cords and plugs for cracks, fractures or faulty wiring and replace them if you see signs of damage or excessive wear.
If you use electric blankets, it is recommended to only turn them on to warm the bed and then switch them off before getting in. Energy Australia suggests replacing electric blankets after 10 years, or sooner if they appear worn.
Stop mould and condensation
Winter is the perfect breeding ground for mould, rising damp and condensation due to lack of ventilation and the constant clash of cold and warm air in and around the home. Mould not only presents a potential health risk for you and your family, including pets, but it can turn into an expensive problem.
To help prevent and manage mould and condensation, start by checking wardrobes, bathroom cupboards and ceilings, cellars, garages and storage areas – essentially anywhere that doesn’t get much air flow, is prone to high levels of moisture or doesn’t get much natural light.
One of the main problem areas is the bathroom, so ensure that you have a fan that is in good working order. Installing window locks in your bathroom and throughout your home is another way to reduce condensation, as leaving windows slightly ajar while you are out will help with constant air flow. Also, consider investing in an air humidifier for rainy days or when it’s too cold to open the windows.
If you have existing mould or rising damp in your home, call a professional to come and get rid of it and ensure that all spores are removed to prevent future spread.
Mould isn’t just a problem inside your home. If you have wooden furniture or a timber deck, now is the time to give it a coat of quality sealant or paint. This will protect timber surfaces from moisture damage, mould and rot and will increase their lifespan.
Weather seal your home
Clean out gutters and drains
Blocked drains, pipes and gutters can cause serious and costly damage to your home, but with regular maintenance, prevention is possible. With autumn’s heavy leaf fall, blockages can be particularly common, especially if you have overhanging trees near your roof, so it’s important to act now before winter settles in. A build-up of twigs, leaves, moss and debris can cause water to back up and overflow into your roof, creating leaks within your ceiling and water damage in your home.
Call a professional to inspect and clean your roof, downpipes and gutters regularly, including checking for rust, broken tiles or cracks to roof structures. Roof, gutter and downpipe inspections can be DIY but make sure to take extra safety precautions.
If you find that your drains and gutters are getting clogged regularly, you might consider installing guards or filters, which are very effective at keeping your gutters clean and clear. Also, think about pruning trees near the roofline as another preventative.