Get your home ready for the winter chill

Published December 20th, 2018

Soon the nights will start to shorten and temperatures continue to drop, the residential lettings team at Berrys are reminding homeowners and tenants of some simple tasks that can be carried out in their home to avoid damage to the property and potential discomfort for those inside.

“As specialists in property, we have drawn up a quick checklist to help keep your home safe and warm during the winter,” said Anna Bowen, surveyor at the Shrewsbury office of Berrys.

Stopcock – You should know the location of the stopcock. It is usually under the kitchen sink or close to the sink where the rising main enters the property. Check it is not seized. Should a burst occur then turn off the stopcock immediately.

Heating – The boiler should be serviced and checked each year and a gas safety certificate held for gas appliances. If you have an oil-fired boiler, check you have adequate heating oil to last over the Christmas holidays. Running out of oil can lead to sediment from the bottom of the tank entering the boiler and causing damage.

Pipes – If you are going away over the holidays ensure that there is adequate heating left on in the property to prevent water pipes and tanks freezing. The best option is to leave heating on at a low level (12C). For prolonged periods, if the heating is not left on, turn the water off and drain the system.

Gutters, Downpipes and Drains – Clear all gutters, downpipes and drains of leaves and debris.

Chimneys – Whether you use your fire regularly or not, we advise that your chimney be swept at least once a year and a certificate of sweeping obtained (this might be a requirement of your tenancy).

Garden Maintenance – Consider what pruning needs to take place especially to plants growing against the property, such as ivy and creepers, as these can cause costly damage.

Vermin Control – With the cold weather comes the increased risk of vermin migrating towards properties and outbuildings in search of food and shelter. Prevention is better than cure, so don’t leave rubbish and food in places that encourage vermin and if rats and mice do become a problem contact your local authority or take appropriate advice.

Smoke Alarms – Check that all smoke alarms are in good working order and are safely secured to the ceiling. Check batteries.

Neighbours – If you know your neighbours it may be beneficial to ask them to keep emergency contact details and also, if you are a tenant, the details of the landlord/agent.

Secure your property – If you plan to be away for a period of time ensure that the property is fully secure. Locked windows and doors will deter opportunist thieves, while setting a light on a timer can be an effective additional security measure.

“These 10 tips should keep you and your home safe and dry during the winter months and help prevent any unwanted emergency repair bills,” commented Natalie.

“Tenants should be aware that they have a responsibility for the property during their tenure and should not expect the landlord to be accountable, if there is a problem that could have been prevented.

For more advice on this and any other letting queries please contact Anna at the Shrewsbury office of Berrys on 01743 271697, email