Winter warning!

by Ed Firmin

Posted on Monday, December 14th, 2015 at 10:00

We’ve been quite lucky down here in the South so far, it’s been a bit windy, but temperatures have been above average for the time of the year. However, the chill is starting to kick in now, and it’s time to start thinking about how to protect your properties from the winter conditions.

Recent data from Direct Line for Business showed that the number of broken boiler claims rose by 37% last winter compared to 2013 – and 151% compared to 2012!

The top reasons for boiler breakdowns included cracks in the heat exchanger, faulty valves, leaking seals and frozen pipes.

Many of these problems could easily be avoided by ensuring that the boiler is regularly serviced. Landlords have to have a mandatory Gas Safety Check done once a year, so it’s probably worth getting the boiler serviced at the same time.

However, if you haven’t had time so far this year, I would advise booking in a registered engineer quick sharp, the last thing you want to happen is that you’re contacted on Christmas Eve to deal with a boiler breakdown from your tenants. Not only is it inconvenient, and not very nice for your tenants to have to live with, but it could also cost you an arm and a leg if you don’t have insurance.

Problems like faulty valves and leaking seals can easily be picked up by an engineer when undertaking a survey, so it’s best to be on the safe side and get any repairs done before your boiler decides to give it the old heave ho.

It’s also worth advising your tenants that if they are going to be vacating the property for part of the Christmas period, then they shouldn’t completely turn off the heating, but leave it on low, and have it come on for a few hours each day. That way, the risk of frozen pipes is lessened dramatically. If they are at home, just check that your tenants know where the stopcock is and know how to turn it off in an emergency. Ask them whether there’s any dripping taps in the property and fix them now, dripping taps can become frozen taps, which can freeze the pipes.

Finally, think about insulating your water tank if you haven’t already.

Spending a bit of time now safeguarding your property against the cold weather could save you a lot more time and money if the worst should happen.

If you would like some advice about how to keep your property safe and secure over the winter, please get in touch, I’m more than happy to give you some tips!

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