The UK has finally been released from the grips of ‘The Beast from the East’ and storm Emma. Temperatures are still low and winter not quite gone yet. If you own a listed property, you might have asked yourself how prepared you were for this winter.
Is your property maintenance up to date? What vulnerabilities does it have? As an older property, often these homes need a little more care and attention than new builds to keep them safe and secure throughout winter, and the rest of the year.
Here are some tips for looking after your listed building:
(1) Internal maintenance
Condensation – this usually builds up on and around windows during cold weather. Make sure to wipe it away to avoid rotting window frames and a build up of damp.
Mould – you will often find mound growing in dark, damp, warm places such as cupboards. Use a moisture trap to remove excess liquid from the air and keep areas ventilated as much as you can.
Leaking pipes – internal pipes can crack or leak after a cold spell. Be safe and check your house for any vulnerable areas. Make sure you get any issues fixed to avoid unexpected flooding.
Damp – all these factors can contribute to damp, one of the major problems facing older properties. Ventilation is key – opening windows and circulating air helps stop the build up.
(2) Looking after your central heating and wood burner
(a) Central heating
It is best to service your boiler before winter sets in to make sure you don’t end up without heating or hot water during the cold period. Emergency call outs are usually more expensive and in high demand during winter. Always use a professional to service your boiler.
You can do some checks yourself as well. During warmer months you should occasionally turn on your heating for 10-15 minutes at a time to allow the system to run and help you identify if there are any issues. Turn up all your radiators, set your thermostat and turn on your heating. If the radiators heat up during this time then it is likely that your system is working ok.
If any radiators are cold or not as hot as they should be, try bleeding them to let out any trapped air and test again.
Listen out for any unusual noises that might indicate a leak. Low pressure and hissing noises might mean a leak. Check your radiators and heating pipes for dripping.
(b) Wood burner
Wood burners are common in listed buildings, but you need to do a little maintenance to keep you and your home safe. As well as a professional grade chimney and lined flue, you should have a carbon monoxide monitor and consider a heat alarm.
You should also ensure you get your chimney swept regularly to avoid soot build up. Ideally you should do this at least once a year.
(3) External maintenance
Check cracks in walls – After cold weather, cracks can appear or get bigger in property walls. It is important to fix these to maintain the integrity of your home and avoid water seeping into your property.
Check for roof leaks – Another key area of maintenance is your roof. You might be able to see gaps or loose tiles just by looking from the ground or in the roof space. You should get an experienced roofer to check your roof if you are worried.
Trees – Many old properties have established trees nearby. Poor weather can cause trees to fall. If you have a tree that could cause damage to your property, make sure it is cut back regularly and remove damaged or rotten trees where possible.
Protect yourself and your building
Even with careful and meticulous maintenance, sometimes the worst can happen. For these occasions it is important to have good Insurance cover for your building and contents. Read our article about calculating the cost to rebuild your home for some help.
If you have a listed property, you might require a specialist insurance which is not available through some general insurers. At AllMedPro we have access to many policies that cover hard to insure properties and can help you insure your home.
As a medical or dental professional, we understand that your home is important to you. We have a specialist team dedicated to getting you the best deal and right insurance cover for you. Contact us for a quote on your listed property.