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posted on 8 Nov 19 by Jayde

Get Your Property Ready for Winter – A Tenant’s Guide

Blog | Guides | Get Your Property Ready for Winter – A Tenant’s Guide

These simple routine checks can mean that you, as tenants, will avoid expensive repairs during the winter months.

I think it’s safe to say that summer has well and truly gone – the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting colder, and we’re only days away from the streets of Birmingham being adorned with twinkly lights.

Now is the best time as a tenant to make sure your apartment is ready for the chilly months ahead, and here’s how you do just that.

If you’re a Landlord looking to ready your property over winter, see our tailored guide here instead.

1. Heaters & radiators

Make sure to check that all your heaters work now, don’t wait until we’re further into Autumn. If you have any problems with them or you aren’t quite sure how to work them, let us know now so we can solve these issues before the cold weather really sets in.

Give your heaters a good clean. Dust will have built up over the summer while they’ve been off. If there is dust inside when you turn them on, it can cause black smoke marks on them and the walls above, and sometimes even cause a burning smell.

Radiators may need to be bled. It can seem like a daunting task, but we promise, it’s easy! If your radiators are cold at the top but hot at the bottom, they’ll need bleeding. Here is a video walking you through how to do it. If you have any questions about bleeding radiators, give your account manager a call, and they’ll be able to help.

During the winter, it’s a good idea to heat your home for at least one hour each day, even if you’re not in the property. It keeps things running smoothly and can help to make sure no pipes freeze over. You can set your heating on a timer to make sure it keeps running even when you’re not around. You’ll find instructions on how to set a timer for your specific heating system in the manual in your apartments or by searching for your boiler or thermostat’s model number online.

If your pipes do freeze, locate the frozen pipe and apply heat to melt the blockage – a hairdryer or water bottle usually does the trick!

2. Boilers

Check your header tank is full enough. Your header tank needs to be checked periodically throughout the year, but you may as well take the time to do it now while you’re already maintaining your heating systems. Header tanks are the small box unit on top of your boiler – it can be topped up by popping the lid off and filling it to just above the halfway point with cold water. If the water in your header tank is too low or too high, it can cause the boiler to shut down – best to keep an eye on it as no-one wants cold showers in the middle of winter!

Keep your boilers’ pressure up. When the pressure is too low boilers don’t run properly. The right pressure is between 1 and 1.5 bar – this is easy to check as there is a dial on the front of your boiler. If your pressure is too low, let your account manager know, and they’ll send someone out to sort it for you.

3. Water

It’s always important to know where your stopcock is so that you can shut off the water in an emergency. Usually, your stopcock is under the sink, look for a tap or lever on your copper pipes. When turned clockwise, it will turn off all the water in your apartment.

4. Condensation

Condensation can be a problem all year round, but it’s made especially bad in the Winter by windows being kept closed and heaters being on. Even though it’s cold, you need to make sure that curtains, blinds and windows are opened for at least an hour a day and that trickle vents are left open at all times.

You must open the windows if you are drying clothes indoors using a drying rack. Drying clothes will exacerbate any condensation problems, and the only way to combat it is to fully air-out your apartment while doing it or dry your clothes using an alternative method.

You will also need to wipe away any condensation that does appear to prevent mould from building up on the windows or windowsills. As always, use the extractor fan in your bathrooms and kitchens to further avoid condensation and mould build-up.

5. Outside space

If you have any outside space or a balcony, make sure to dispose of any leaves or foliage that have entered the area – over the winter months these will decompose and can both stain decking and cause it to become very slippery. Now would also be an excellent time to bring in any furniture that isn’t weather-proof.

6. Lighting

Make sure all of your lightbulbs are working. It’s easier during the lighter months to navigate around with some bulbs out, but now the days will be getting shorter you need to make sure all of your lights are fully functioning. It is a tenants responsibility to maintain their lights, but if you are having any trouble, let us know – we’d much rather you tell us than break a fitting!

7. Vacant properties

If you’re going on holiday or going home for over a month, you need to let your landlord and estate agent know that the property is going to be empty for an extended time. Remember though; you’ll still be responsible for the property, it’s contents and for paying your rent.

8. Furnishings

Drawing your curtains or blinds on an evening can help to keep in as much heat as possible and keep you cosy during the colder months, just don’t keep them closed all the time. As we mentioned earlier, you’ll need to open your curtains or blinds (and windows) throughout the day to ensure condensation is kept to a minimum.

Draft excluders can be so useful for popping against a front door, or any doors that lead onto outside spaces like balconies – they’ll help to keep any harsh winds from coming in. You can also upgrade your duvets if you find you’re a bit chilly at night. You’ll be best with a 10 to 15 tog duvet for the winter, like this one from John Lewis.

Problems caused by the cold winter weather could leave you feeling frosty, but follow these tips to help see you through the season.

As always, if your property suffers any damage, please make sure you report the issue as soon as possible. You can do this by calling us on 0121 366 045 and pressing option 1 to talk to your account manager. If you have any questions on your accommodation and how winter might affect you, contact one of our fantastic colleagues at Fleetmilne today!

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