With colder weather and shorter days well and truly upon us, it’s time to turn our attention to winter-proofing our homes, to help preserve their value and to keep us all safe and warm during the coldest months of the year.
Don’t Let Your Heating Hurt You!
While gas heating is in general a safe way to heat your home, if your heating is faulty or your home is not properly ventilated, you are at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide is a an invisible, odourless and tasteless gas which can be fatal if exposure to it reaches toxic levels.
The signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, shortness of breath, confusion, blurred vision and loss of consciousness
EnergySafe Victoria recommend having your heater serviced by a registered gasfitter every two years. Their other recommendations and safety checklist can be found here.
Central heating systems should be serviced every two years and ducts cleaned with the same regularity, to prevent a build-up of dust which can be a significant fire hazard. Central heating ducts attract rodents and other pests who are looking for somewhere warm to sleep during the winter months.
An open fire can keep your home warm and cosy, but the risk of fire is always present around a naked flame.
Here are some tips to keep your home safe while enjoying your open fire:
- Keep flammable items away from the area around the fireplace and never leave a fire unattended, especially when children are present. Install a fireguard in front of your fire and make sure you have a working fire extinguisher on hand.
- Where possible, keep a window open while the fire is burning.
- Always keep the damper or flue of your fire open – open is before starting the fire, so that smoke is drawn out of the house through the chimney.
- Avoid using wet or green wood to start or stoke your fire – it causes more smoke and creates soot build-up in the chimney.
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and test them regularly.
Gutter and Roof Repairs
Our article on autumn roof and gutter maintenance covers how to prepare your roof and gutters for the autumn and winter months.
If you haven’t already, make time this weekend to carry out any repairs that can be done safely to your roof and gutters, to protect them against the worst of the winter weather to come.
Floods and Leaks
Don’t wait for torrential downpours or destructive winds, to deal with flooding or leaks in your home.
Leak-proofing your home will save money on energy bills and the cost of rectifying structural damage and replacing paintwork and furniture.
Pay attention to stains and discolouration in your walls and ceiling -this can be a sign that there is moisture build-up behind the walls that can lead to mould and mildew.
Check your roof tiles and repair or replace any that are broken or loose. Check the seals on your door and windows and use caulk to seal any gaps.
Repair holes in your guttering to prevent constant drips damaging your verandah or patio.
Check your property’s exterior drainage points and clear soil, sand and leaf residue.
Keep Moisture at Bay
Keeping your home well-ventilated even in winter can prevent the spread of mould or mildew. Open windows and doors on fine days to let fresh air through, and make sure clothing, sheets and towels are aired and dried properly before being stored.
The harsh weather conditions of winter can wear and degrade your deck, leading to expensive repairs down the track. Protect your deck by regularly clearing away dirt and leaves and repairing any holes, cracks or splits as you come across them.
Re-coat your deck with a quality deck finish to protect it from water and wind damage through the worst of the harsh winter weather.
Selling Your Home in Winter
The colder months are not generally considered an ideal time to put property on the market, however, with the right presentation and the help of a motivated agent, you can make this season work to your advantage.
Before inspections, clean windows and clear your path and front garden of leaf debris -rake the garden if you have one. Make sure the entrance to your home is well-lit, warm and inviting.
Fix door and window gaps, repair holes and leaks and make sure your heating is safe and working properly.
Make your home inviting with warm colours, textures and lighting, and ensure your heating is on during open-for-inspections. If you have a working fireplace, make sure it’s burning during inspections– this is a great selling feature in winter.
Importantly, have a plan B for inclement weather on auction day- move the proceedings under cover, or hold the auction in your garage – or even inside if your home is large enough.
Have you noticed a drip, leak or other worrying issue at your property? Not sure what to do next?
The Home Inspection Hub can help with a special purpose inspection.
If you’re putting your home on the market and have completed renovation works within the last six and a half years, we can conduct an owner builder defect inspection and issue you a 137b report.
Call The Home Inspection Hub on 1300 071 283 or ask us for a free quote today!