Prepare your home for winter chills and rain
Whether it's preparing for winter rains, or keeping out the winter chills, every home is going to require some maintenance to make sure it is ready for winter.
As we head into winter and the temperature starts to drop, and heavy rainfall is forecast, it's time to make sure that your home is ready for what's ahead. Taking a day now to go over your home and inspect certain problem areas will ensure that you and your family are snug, warm and dry.
Gaps under doors
Large gaps under doors let in water and wind, yet it's so easy to cover up these areas with a door sweep. You will find draft excluders or door sweeps at your local Builders Warehouse, and there are a variety of options to choose from. Find instructions here for fitting a draught excluder to exterior doors with large gaps at the bottom.
GOOD TO KNOW: In the event that a door swells during the rainy season, don't attempt to sand away any wood from the base of the door. Once the absorbed moisture dries out the wood will return to its previous form and will no longer stick. Sanding the door while it is still swollen will result in an even larger gap once the door returns to its normal state.
Gaps around window or door frames
Gaps around windows - no matter how small - let in moisture during the rainy season and are in big factor in heat loss from a home during the cold winters. It's easy enough to fix up any gaps and you will find a wide choice of products to choose from at your local Builders store for aluminium, steel or wooden window frames and you will find basic instructions here for sealing gaps.
Where there are gaps between opening windows and frames fit foam insulation strips to bridge the gap. You will find these especially useful on sliding doors, where huge gaps are normally occur between overlapping door frames. Stop these gaps with insulation strips and keep out cold drafts. See step-by-step on fitting insulation strips.
It's always a good idea to give your roof an annual inspection. Tiled roofs fitted with ridge caps that are mortared in place can have the mortar deteriorate over time, and these areas can be the cause of leaks in the roof, as can slipped or broken tiles. On tin roofs, rust can eat away at fastenings and result in leaks. While flat roofs can be susceptible to leaks where water has a chance to pool and damage the roof coating.
The last thing you want is for a roof leak to become a serious problem in the middle of the rainy season and you are unable to get someone in quickly to fix it before it causes serious damage. If this is not a job you are going to tackle yourself, seek professional advice on what needs to be done and get any problems sorted as soon as possible. You will find helpful tips on leaky roofs here.
A working chimney
Whether you use your fireplace or not, this is one area in a home that can result in huge heat loss if not regularly maintained. It is essential to check for blockages in the flue or chimney to ensure that these are working properly and that the flue opens and closes with ease. Also check that a cowl above the chimney has not slipped and while you're up on the roof, look for gaps around the chimney structure itself.
When in use, ash and soot should be cleaned out on a weekly basis to prevent build-up. For a more intensive cleaning it may be a good idea to call in a professional to do the job for you.
GOOD TO KNOW: If you don't use an open fireplace, make a decorative screen, or have this closed off, to reduce heat loss in a home during the winter months.