During the winter months the weather in the UK can be very unpredictable. One day we can have really mild weather with temperatures reaching a balmy 14°C, followed by treacherously icy conditions where temperatures stay below freezing.
During 2018 we have so far had the ‘Beast from the East’ in the early part of the year, followed by a summer heatwave with days of baking hot sunshine with virtually no rain. This changeable weather can be very damaging to our properties causing issues such as subsidence, damage to gutters, damp, and flooding.
Finding problems before they become serious issues, could not only save you time and money but also keep you and your family healthy. Here’s a few suggestions of things you should check around your home this winter.
Leaking gutters can cause a myriad of problems if left damaged. You should be able to spot a problem by water falling from your roof where it shouldn’t as well as damp patches on your walls even though it hasn’t been raining. Your gutters can become blocked through fallen leaves, moss and general debris. If you feel unable to check your gutters yourself, your window cleaner or a general handyman will be able to do so for you. If you notice you have a leak or that some of the joins have cracked, you will need to replace them. If you have cast iron gutters make sure you contact a specialist gutter supplier so they can match your existing pipework. If you need help replacing them, contact a local builder or general maintenance company for a quote. The website Checkatrade will help you find a vetted and recommended company if you do not have a contact – https://www.checkatrade.com/
If the temperature drops any exposed pipes can become very vulnerable. To avoid water freezing in your pipes and subsequently bursting, make sure you have lagged them properly and don’t forget any pipes that are in garages, attics and gardens.
Cracks can appear in brickwork for a number of reasons, but subsidence is a major concern especially if you live in an area which has clay soil. Subsidence is caused by the ground expanding through moisture and then contracting when it dries out. Summer 2018 saw the UK having an extended period of hot and dry weather which could cause issues for properties. Check the walls of your property both inside and out to see if you can see any new cracks appearing. If you are concerned about subsidence and how to identify it, follow this link for more information: https://www.axa.co.uk/insurance/personal/home/tips-and-guides/spotting-the-signs-of-subsidence/
If you notice any mould appearing on skirting boards or walls you may have a problem with damp. Rising damp can occur when ground water comes up through the floor or through the walls. Damp-proof membrane should stop it causing any damage but if you live in an older property you may not have one fitted. If you are concerned, call out a reputable builder who will be able to advise you. Penetrating damp is caused by water coming through the exterior walls causing damp patches on interior walls. The most common causes of this type of damp are broken guttering, leaking roofs, cracked brickwork and damaged pipes.