As temperatures drop and winter sets in, both homeowners and tenants face seasonal challenges in keeping their properties safe and warm. It’s not just about comfort; it’s a necessary step to prevent costly damages like burst pipes and to reduce heating costs, especially with the unprecedented cold spells we have experienced in recent years.
This article provides a comprehensive overview for tenants on how to protect their rental homes during winter. It covers a range of topics from insulation and heating system maintenance to emergency preparedness and energy efficiency, offering practical advice and tips to remain warm and safe.
Winterising your rental home requires a combination of proactive measures, regular maintenance, and clear communication with your landlord or agent. By following these tips, you can ensure a safer, warmer, and more comfortable living environment during the winter months. Remember, preparation is key to preventing winter-related problems and enjoying the season in your cozy, well-maintained home.
Heating System Maintenance
Frozen pipes are a common and costly problem in winter. Ensure that you have set your central heating to come on twice every 24 hours for at least 4 hours each time. This will maintain a temperature within the property to prevent freezing pipes. The majority of boilers will have a frost setting – if you have a frost setting on your boiler then please use this.
In very cold spells, leaving cupboard doors open can allow warmer air to circulate around the pipes. If you’re going away, never turn the heat off; a temperature of at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended. If your pipes do freeze, contact your landlord immediately.
If you are aware that your Landlord has a ‘Homecare’ contract with British Gas or a similar agreement with another company, then ensure that you have the relevant emergency contact number and policy number to hand should you require it.
If your heating system seems inefficient, don’t hesitate to discuss it with your landlord or agent.
Outside taps are particularly vulnerable to freezing temperatures.
I suggest draining the water from the tap over winter as it will probably not be used. The first step is to locate the stop cock or isolation valve for your outside tap, which is typically found inside your house. Turn this valve off to stop water flow to the outside tap.
Once the water supply is off, open the outside tap and leave it open for a while to let any remaining water drain out. This step is crucial because water left in the pipes can freeze and expand, leading to pipes bursting.
Insulating your outside taps can significantly reduce the risk of freezing. Special covers are available at most hardware stores and are designed to provide insulation around the tap. If not, you can wrap the tap in insulating materials such as foam insulation, old rags, or even bubble wrap. Secure the insulation with duct tape or a plastic bag to keep it dry and in place.
Ensure all hoses, splitters, or attachments are disconnected from the tap. Water in hoses can freeze and increase pressure in the entire plumbing system, potentially causing damage. After disconnecting, drain your hoses and store them in a garage or shed to prevent them from freezing and cracking.
Even a small drip can lead to freezing problems. If you notice your tap is leaking or dripping, repair it before the cold weather sets in. A leak can not only cause water damage but also increase the risk of the tap and pipe freezing. If a tap does freeze, it’s important to thaw it as soon as possible to prevent bursting. You can use a hair dryer, heat lamp, or warm towels to gently thaw the tap and the adjacent pipe.
Ice and Snow
Clearing snow and ice is not just about convenience; it’s a safety issue. Regularly clear paths and driveways to prevent accidents. Use ice melting products carefully to avoid damaging surfaces.
Extended Periods Away
The Christmas period is often a time when extended visits to see family and friends occur. If you are away over the Christmas period then please ensure the above steps are taken, and please advise your landlord or ourselves if your break extends over seven days.
If you have any queries or would like any further advice then please do not hesitate to contact our Property Management Department on 01332 300166. If your call is out of office hours, it will be answered by our Emergency Out of Hours line.
For general maintenance issues relating to frost, ice and snow please report as normal through FixFlo by clicking the link below: