As we move into the latter part of the year, it’s important to ensure our homes have been prepared for the darker, colder weather to come. Although it’s still very sunny and warm, now is the time to start thinking about any tasks you’ll need to complete on your property so that you have ample time and daylight hours in which to do so.
In this blog, we’ll give our top autumn maintenance tips based on over 30 years of experience within the property services industry. Find out how to look after your windows and doors, how to ensure your home is secure, and what to do if something does go wrong.
Tidy your outside spaces
The majority of us spend a lot more time outdoors during the summer months, and various items can become semi-permanent features of the garden. For instance, during the height of summer, you’re likely to find children’s toys, paddling pools, BBQ equipment, outdoor furniture and trampolines in residency right across the country.
As we move into autumn, the weather is likely to become colder and more extreme, so it’s important to ensure your garden is clear and safe before high winds occur. This involves stowing away garden furniture, toys, inflatables and trampolines safely in a secure shed or similar. Any outbuildings should be secured with a weatherproof, heavy duty padlock. Items which are whipped up by the wind can cause a huge amount of damage to both neighbouring houses and your own, including smashing windows and dislodging roof tiles.
If your garden has large shrubs or trees present, check these for any areas of concern. If you have dead or broken branches, evidence of disease, or rotting wood, consult a local tree surgeon. Any weakness in a tree or large shrub could pose a real danger when the weather becomes less forgiving, particularly if they are situated close to the property.
Make sure your home security is up to scratch
The darker evenings will soon be upon us, and unfortunately so will a higher risk of being burgled. There is a shocking 63% increase in burglaries during the winter months, and this is primarily because criminals are much less likely to be seen. We don’t tend spend a lot of time outside once it gets dark, so if a burglar knows that you are out, it’s much easier for them to attempt entry to your home without the risk of being seen.
This principle should also be considered when looking at your garden and outdoor perimeter. If there’s a large amount of tall foliage keeping your home private from the street, this may be attractive to opportunist thieves, who know that they won’t be spotted by any passing members of the public or neighbours. Where possible, try to find a balance between privacy and being visible enough.
Many potential burglars have been put off by automatic lights, which come on when movement is sensed within a set area. Ensuring you have motion-sensor lighting in more secluded areas, like at the rear of your home, means your property has at least one deterrent.
Another good deterrent to have is a security alarm. These often come with both a real and a dummy siren box, so that you can advertise the fact there is an alarm present on both sides of your home. Modern home alarms are wireless and easy to install, with a choice of motion sensors available. You can even have video captured and sent to your smartphone should the alarm be triggered in your absence. It’s always worth investing in an alarm system, however simple, especially if there have been burglaries in your area recently.
Make sure windows and doors are in good condition
Before the weather gets more extreme, it’s important to check the condition of your windows and external doors (including your garage door if applicable). If you have window frames or doors which are constructed from timber, you should inspect them carefully for imperfections, damage or wear and tear. Timber products like these should be maintained on a regular basis, so if they’re due some attention, it may be best to complete this task before the nights start drawing in and the weather begins to worsen.
Any problems with your windows and doors, particularly if the frames are not fitted well or if you have broken glazing, should be fixed as soon as you are able. Additionally, misted up double glazing, where the water droplets collect in between the two panes, are a sign that the unit is no longer doing its job and should be replaced. Both of these issues can cause problems with your wider property, such as damp and mould, not to mention the reduced thermal efficiency.
If you can arrange for repairs to be carried out before the weather gets colder and the nights get longer, there are less likely to be delays in having the job completed.
What if my home has sustained damage?
If your home sustains damage due to burglary or extreme weather, it’ll be much easier to deal with if you are organised beforehand. The priority is always you and your family’s safety. Never put yourself in danger for your belongings and make sure everyone knows and remembers where the escape routes are.
If there has been a burglary, call the police in the first instance. Once they have been notified, call your home insurance company and follow their instructions. They are likely to send Evander or a similar company to ‘make-safe’ your home, which can also be arranged on a private basis. This includes removing broken glass, boarding up windows and installing temporary locks if yours have been compromised. This can be done as soon as the police have done what they need at the scene.
If poor weather has damaged your home, then your home insurer should be your first call, unless of course there is an imminent threat or danger to life. Take pictures of the damage if you can, as this will help your insurer to better process your claim, particularly if you’re having damage boarded up or removed independently of your home insurer.
It’s always worth having an emergency box to hand, which includes important numbers, a torch or some candles, and a wind-up radio. Keep your insurance policy documents in a safe, elevated place and always keep your own safety in mind.
If you have any questions about your windows, doors or home security, don’t hesitate to get in touch – our friendly and knowledgeable team is always happy to help.