DIY Maintenance

Preparing for Winter

Saying good bye to summer is hard, less daylight hours to get things done or just to spending time outside. But as we head into winter it really important that we get a few jobs done to ensure that no matter the weather we can be sure that the house and our family are safe and warm through those colder months.

Summer can hide some expensive issues with our homes that we are not prepared for or even knew were a issue until the colder months and rain set in. The last thing anyone of us needs are expensive repair bills in the middle of winter.

I remember one year that we forgot to check our PVC pipes that transfers water from our gutters to our rain water tanks. (Rain is our best friend without rain and our tanks we have no water for anything, it’s a very important commodity) this was a really expensive mistake on our part as losing that much water is not great when you rely on it for everything.

Heavy rain and wind caused the pipe to shift and come of the roof that connects our main house with the rumpus room. This meant we lost litres of water before we even released what had happen. So there we are in the cold and rain trying to re-fix in place the PVC pipe back into place.

So avoid a mistake like this if you rely on rain water or an even more expensive repair bill to your roof; now is the time to do some checks and jobs to ensure a safe and warm winter without the extra bills.

Gutters

I know we really don’t think much about our gutters has home owners, but really they are very important, not just if you collect the rain but if you gutters are not in good condition or are falling down this can cause you a very expensive repair bill not just to replace your gutters but potentially to walls and even you ceiling and roof if water leaks in.

Really important to clean out our gutters from any debris (leaf litter) that can block your gutters and down pipes from removing excess water from your roof. Nobody wants water leaking inside your home.

If you decide to do this yourself a tool like a hand trencher is really handy. I brought this from Bunnings and its used to dig trenches in your garden but is so versatile that can be used for other jobs around the home.

Roof

While we are talking gutters and up there cleaning them out its also a great time to check out your roof. Do a quick scan of any broken tiles or gaps, mortar that may be missing or looking in disrepair. A scan now to pick up on any issues can save you lots of money in the long run. Please make sure you get a qualified contractor in to do any repairs needed.

Heaters (fireplace)

If you have a fireplace or combustion heater cleaning the flue is really important. We want to avoid any fires from occurring within the chimney flue or the roof space.

This is really simple to do and does not take a lot of your time to make sure that your flue or chimney is clean and clear. Flue and chimney’s that are not cleaned or cleared out can start a fire within and in which can quickly spread to your roof space and the rest of your home. Nobody wants this.

So, this has to be done from your roof, please be safe when working at heights and if you do not have the confidence or right equipment please get in a contractor that can do this for you. Just remember to budget for it in your budget each year then you don’t have to be worried.

If you can do this yourself then a steel brush

From you locate hardware store with a piece of long rope tired to it is all you need. Just make sure your fireplace is blocked off or the door closed. No one wants the added cleaning job of cleaning soot from the inside of your home. All you need to do is drop the brush down from the top and drag the brush back up the chimney. You just need to ensure that the brush is a snug fit but that you can still pull it up as well. So, do this a couple of times (4-5) to ensure that it is cleaned. And you’re done.

If you have a large chimney I would look at getting in a chimney sweep contractor to clean this out for you. Just make sure you put it in your budget then you want have to be worries about the cost.

Window and Door Seals

To keep the cost of you heating bill down its important to check your windows and door seals for any drafts. Loss of heat can really increase you heating bill. Simple tips to fix this around your exterior doors are snakes. These are made general of sand and material and you can even make these your self to bring in your own colour scheme and for that personal customised feature to your home.

You can also install draft seals to the bottom of your doors. These are easy to install and not that expensive to purchase from your local hardware store like Bunnings.

For your windows this is going to depend on the type of windows you have. I have sliding windows so I need and anyone else that has these will need to check to ensure that the silicone is still in tact and where necessary may need to be replaced.

Windows that wind out are more easy to seal from drafts using foam seal strips. All you do is stick the sticky side on the inside of the window so when you wind the window in it seals up nicely. You may need to do this all the way around to ensure a tight seal when closed. But it may also be a great idea that the windows may just need a little care and re-adjusting to get that tight seal again.

So that’s it for getting your home ready for winter. Just doing a few jobs and checks can really save you time and money in the long run. Getting issues sorted before they become a major repair bill is something we all want to avoid.

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