As Canberra comes alive with the rich colours of autumn, it also means the winter chill isn’t far away. Autumn is an ideal time to get your house in order before the cold sets in, so whether you’re a homeowner, tenant, or investor, every home can benefit from some simple maintenance and preparation to guarantee a comfortable, cosy, and warm winter in the capital. And, if you are a tenant or landlord with a property managed by Peter Blackshaw Real Estate, please contact your Property Manager to discuss the below tips to assist in preparing for winter.
As the temperature begins to fall, it’s a good time to check your heating system is working efficiently. If you have a ducted heating or reverse-cycle system, turn it on to check it is circulating hot air and that all vents open and close properly. Take this as an opportunity to remove any furniture that may be too close or blocking vents, and while you’re there, clean your vents and filters of any excess dust and allergens. If you have gas heating, call in a professional to have it checked and serviced — gas heaters should be serviced every few years to ensure they are operating safely and effectively. For a wood-burning fireplace, clean your chimney and flue of any ashes and debris before you put it to use. If you have any electrical or oil heating appliances, test to see if they are working and check cords and outlets for any faults, cracks or damage.
Roof, drains and gutters
The build-up of twigs, leaves and debris can wreak havoc during extreme winter weather, causing roof damage, drains and gutters to block and overflow, and water leaks in and outside of your property. Regular inspections and maintenance are the best way to prevent damage, to ensure longevity of your roof and gutters, and help avoid unnecessary and costly repairs. Call a professional to inspect, assess and clean your roof and gutters, including checking for any broken or cracked tiles. Do this as early as possible so you have the time to make any essential repairs before the cold weather hits.
Hot water system
How old is your hot water system? And when was the last time you had it checked? Before winter arrives schedule in some time for a professional to check your system because what could be worse than a cold shower in the middle of winter? Regular maintenance can not only prevent unnecessary and costly repairs and replacement, but can prolong the life of your hot water system too.
Preventing and managing condensation during winter can be challenging as the constant clash of cold and warm surfaces and air is the perfect breeding ground for mould and moisture. Firstly, check all bathroom fans are in working order. Using fans when showering is the first step in preventing condensation and mould in the bathroom and throughout the house. Mould presents a potential health risk for you and your family, including pets, so keep the fan on for some time after showers to reduce moisture. Installing window locks throughout your home is another way to reduce condensation, as leaving windows slightly ajar while you are out will help with air flow. Also, consider investing in an air humidifier for rainy days or when it’s just too cold to open the windows.
When was the last time you checked the insulation in your home, roof or attic? What about your doors and windows — are they well-sealed, or can you feel a draft around the frames and under the door? Poor insulation could mean you are losing a lot of heat without realising, but there are many ways you can insulate your home to increase the amount of heat it retains. Look to reseal any gaps and cracks around windows, install weather strips to the bottoms of doors, and use draft blockers/excluders. Installing carpet or rugs to cover cold flooring and installing thicker curtains and window blinds will also help to keep cold air out and your energy bills down. Good insulation will also pay off down the track by keeping your house cool during the summer.
As the cooler weather starts to settle in across the territory, it’s time to close down your pool for a few months. To keep it in good condition for next summer and to prolong its life, there are a few simple steps you can take. Start by adding a winter treatment to the pool water. This usually includes a high dose of chlorine as well as an algaecide — both will help to keep the pool clean and prevent algae growth. You may need to do this several times throughout the winter, depending on the weather and how much it rains, as additional water can dilute the effectiveness of the products. It’s also worth investing in a thick winter cover to prevent sticks, leaves and debris from entering the pool and causing dirt and algae to grow.
If you are a tenant or landlord and have any questions about preparing your home for the winter season, contact your Property Manager at Peter Blackshaw Real Estate.