Have your house inspected for leaks and defects before winter
Setting up your home to endure the cold and windy season can both be serious and fun. Checking for faulty heaters and clogged gutters takes the serious side, while you can go wild with your winter bedding and window coverings. Either way, it is important to prepare for winter for many reasons.
Winter does not mean you have to endure a cold floor or suffer from those biting chills. Here are 10 ways to help you prepare so that your home is winter-ready.
1. Check for leaks and draughts
Homes with air or water leaks are susceptible to heat loss – an unexpected expense that can easily be avoided. Check your windows for any damaged seals or gaps and look under doors for any signs of wide openings that need to be sealed off.
One simple way to find leaks is to use the ‘candle test’. Simply light a candle, walk around your home, and pause in areas where you suspect to have a leak. If the flame flickers, you have found a leak that should be sealed off immediately. Checking for leaks and defects can be done by yourself, but it’s best conducted by a building inspector such as Vital Buildings Inspections who can provide you with a comprehensive property maintenance report.
Sealing air and water leaks around your home will prevent cold spots and improve energy efficiency by making sure heat does not escape. By preventing heat loss, you will also be able to save money on your electric bills.
2. Clean the gutters
You know winter is coming when trees shed their leaves. It is also a sign that you’ll need to clean your gutters. Clogged gutters will prevent rain drainage which can result in leaks, especially after storms. They can also cause damage to the foundations of the building.
Should you decide to DIY, make sure that it is a clear day when you declutter your gutter to avoid slipping accidents. Wear gloves to move debris into a bucket as a precaution, and hose down your gutters to clear anything that you may have missed. This will also let you know if there are holes or leaks in your downpipes, which you should replace as soon as possible.
3. Check your heating system
Nothing is more depressing than shivering inside your home during the cold winter months. That’s why it is important to make sure that your heating is in top condition before the bitter cold sets in, to save you from wasting money from an inefficient system and to prevent you from catching a chill. Here are some common ways to monitor in your heating system:
- Check the overall performance of your heater.
- Check if air is flowing freely, and make sure there are no cracks or holes in the ducts.
- Monitor gas pressure, ignition and burners.
- Look for carbon monoxide leaks.
4. Clean filters and air vents
Your heating system needs to be cleaned before you crank it up. Cleaning out dust build-up and allergens in your filters and air vents will not only keep your family healthy and safe, it will also save you money. Use a vacuum with a brush attachment to clean vents. Wipe dry using a microfibre cloth to remove remaining moulds and dust.
5. Is it time to buy a new heater?
If you are planning to buy a new heater, you should consider the size of the space that needs heating and how often you intend to use it. This will determine the type of heater that best suits you.
- Electric heaters are portable and inexpensive and are ideal for heating small spaces for short periods.
- Gas heaters work best in larger spaces. They are ideal for those who want to heat their houses for long periods.
- Reverse-cycle air conditioners are a bit on the pricey side, but they can save you money in the long run. That said, they are quite economical for the amount of heat that they generate.
6. Check your gas log fire
A gas log fire adds style and warmth to your home, but they can also cause health hazards to your household if they are not installed properly or maintained regularly. Have your gas log fire inspected to ensure it meets gas safety standards.
A regular yearly check-up can keep your heating system working efficiently. It is best to leave the inspection and maintenance to an expert to see to it that you can enjoy your stylish gas log fire for years to come.
Whilst you’re at it, be sure to test electric blankets, portable heaters and other electrical heating appliances for any damage or faults. Check also if the batteries on your smoke alarm need changing.
7. Create an emergency kit
Having an emergency kit will somehow put your mind at ease during severe storms and blackouts. The kit should include essential items such as lighters, candles, matches, a battery-powered radio, spare batteries, extra blankets and a first-aid kit. Stock up on firewood too, if you are lucky enough to have a traditional fireplace in your house.
8. Cover hard floors with rugs
Hard floors, made of hardwood, tiles or concrete, are a bit cold to walk on and do not hold in heat. Placing a rug or carpet on these floors will not only add warmth and help retain heat, but it will also make your room cosier.
9. Cover your windows
According to the Australian Window Association (AWA), up to 40% of heat in your house can escape through windows. To prevent heat loss in winter, insulate your house by keeping your windows covered. Additionally, this will also save you money on your bills.
Opening your window coverings is another way to heat your home as it will allow your home interior to soak in the sun. You can use sun sensors to enjoy this warmth even after being away for hours. These sensors will automatically raise and lower your blinds or curtains depending on the amount of sunlight that it can detect.
10. Bring out your winter bedding
As the season changes, so should your bedding. Store away your warm-weather bed sheets and bring out your doona. Wool and feather doonas generally provide maximum warmth, whilst microfibre and cotton quilts offer lighter insulation. Alternatively, you can replace your bed sheets with cosy linen sheets or flannelette, and then layer them with blankets and throws for added warmth and comfort.
Building Inspections help prepare your home for winter
Getting your home’s interior and exterior ready for winter does not have to be complicated, but it would help to have a reliable building inspector to guide you.
At Vital Building and Pest Inspections, we take care of the hassle of building inspections to help ensure your house’s structure is ready for the cold season. Over the years, we have given hundreds of recommendations to our clients on how to address defects and help manage the root causes, so they don’t create any further trouble.