Keeping Your Holiday Home Safe Over WinterWritten by Alex under Dehumidifiers, Desiccant, General, Heaters | No Comments
If you’re fortunate enough to have a holiday home you’ll know that it’s not just burglars that your property can be affected by, storms, cold snaps and all sorts of other factors including storms, frost, snow and damp.
Leaving any property untended for a period of time will result in decay but if your second home is out of the way break-ins, tree strikes, storm damage or things like falling chimney stacks will go unnoticed and unreported for months.
So what are the most common things that you can find that have gone wrong when you first come back to your holiday property?
Before you lock up your second home for the winter check that the roof is sound, that tiles are secure and none are broken. Make sure the chimney is in good order as you don’t need that crashing through your roof while you’re at home! If you have aerials or a satellite dish, ensure it’s properly fixed, if it comes free in a storm it too can do all sorts of damage as well as attracting undesirables.
When thinking of potential damage, prune any trees so that branches are unlikely to break in heavy weather, make sure all your garden furniture is properly tidies away and all your gates locked uop tight to avoid coming loose and banging away all through winter.
Water Damage And Flooding
If a pipe burst in your holiday home during particularly cold weather you might not discover it for weeks or even months. That could mean thousands of litres of water flooding your property before it is discovered. It could mean falling ceilings, rotting carpets, destroyed tiling and rotten floorboards, ruined furniture and appliances.
To avoid burst pipes ideally heating should be set to between seven and ten degrees Celsius. If there are exposed pipes outdoors, make sure they are well lagged along with the cold water tank, you should also open the attic door to allow warm air up into the loft. Turning the water off at the stopcock isn’t sufficient, if at all possible you should drain the system, including the central heating and ideally have the boiler serviced when you fill it up again when you begin using the property again. If you can’t drain your pipes turn them off at the mains and then turn the taps on, this allows the water to move as it expands and contracts within the pipes.
When you open up your house after the winter it may yet be musty, either desiccants or dehumidifiers can help dry out a damp building when you return but the smell may be a sign of a damp problem, if you’re concerned, have a surveyor or structural engineer take a look.
Blocked Drains And Guttering
Firstly you should fit a grille over your downpipes where guttering is concerned. This prevents large objects and creatures from getting in and blocking the pipes. Cleaning these should be a part of your maintenance activities. Keep an eye out for any signs of damp patches developing indoors as leaving these untreated will create greater problems later.
Burglars: Keeping Them Away
Burglaries occur when the miscreants know a property is going to be empty for a prolonged period or just after you’ve arrived, when the pickings are richest.
Fit sturdy double glazing and get a mortise lock for your exterior doors, if you’re particularly concerned, you might want grilles to go over your doors and windows.
Don’t leave spare keys where people always look, on top of the door frame, under a flowerpot or mat. Leave them with neighbours instead. If you’re buying a new build change all the locks right away, any number of people will have had the keys go through their hands while the property was under construction and you never know.
An electrical short or an appliance that wasn’t turned off can easily cause a fire, as with the water, have it turned off at the mains when you’re on your way out of the door.