How to Protect your Property throughout the Winter:

As we fast approach the winter season, damage to property from heavy snowfall, freezing temperatures, storms and high winds can cause problems for many landlords.

Thankfully, there are some things you can do to prevent some damage from occurring, and in this blog we cover some common, and less common scenarios, which could result in damage.

This guide will help you to understand how the colder weather can affect your property and what actions you can take to both rectify any existing damages and how to prevent them altogether. 

Frozen Pipes

Issue: A drop in temperature can cause the pipes to freeze over and break at their weakest point. Burst pipes are a very common issue in households and can cause flooding. It could also cost a lot in repairs so we highly recommend you monitor them.

How to Spot:

     - Check your pipes regularly for blockage or damage     - Check un-heated areas including lofts, under floorboards and along the lower walls 

Prevention: It is important that you ensure your stopcock works to prevent flooding when a pipe breaks. Leaving doors open is a simple ventilation method that allows warm air to circulate and prevent pipes from freezing over.

Run the heating regularly to help clear the boiler pump of any grit that gathers when it isn’t in use; you don’t want this to settle and clog up the pipes.

If you find already frozen pipes, then use towels soaked in warm water to help them thaw.

Wall Deterioration

Issue: The interior walls of your property can be prone to damage from cold temperatures and wet weather, causing them to become damp, grow mould, split and crack.

As pipes freeze, they can dampen the plaster from where they’re attached and can result in water damage from a burst pipe. Even after the issue is fixed, water can soak its way up the wall material and start to deteriorate from inside the brick pours. Check for bad paintwork or gaps that could let water in.

The exterior walls can also suffer from harsh weather conditions and are more susceptible to damage than the interior because they will feel the full effect of any rain and storm penetration.

The walls can become stained and damp, which means they could potentially become filled with mould growth, and the cold weather could freeze and crack the wet bricks. Wet and soggy leaves/dirt/mud pressed up against the lower portion of the exterior walls can lead to damp penetration and can seep through / breach the damp proof course.

How to Spot:

     - Yellow or Brown blotches (damp) coming up from skirting boards     - White deposits on the plaster work     - Noticeable wallpaper air pockets or strips from the wall     - Nearby floor or roof showing similar signs of moisture 

Prevention: Ensure that you seal cracks, holes in walls and foundations near water pipes. Keep cabinet doors open during cold spells to allow air to circulate around your pipes. Ensure guttering is clear from leaves that fall during the winter as rain can seep into the walls of your home through collated water. If the property has surrounding high bushes or trees, look to get these trimmed down.