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Property upkeep: Getting ready for the autumn and winter

At Gateway, we pride ourselves on our proactive approach to property maintenance, from repairing any minor structural damage to making sure pipes are lagged in communal areas. Here are a few tips from our facilities team to help you stay warm in the colder months and avoid any unpleasant surprises or unnecessary repair bills.

Allow your home to breathe

Water vapour is created by our everyday activities around the home. The average family, in fact, produces 20 pints (5 gallons or approximately 12L) of moisture every day. That’s two and a half builders’ buckets of water. Given the sheer volume, it’s important that moisture isn’t trapped inside a property, as this leads to condensation, mould growth and even costly damage.

To help prevent this, check that the air bricks outside your property aren’t blocked, extractor fans are working and that you make use of any trickle vents in windows. As well as ventilating your home, including opening windows for a short period, it’s also key to heat it properly. For more advice, take a look at our guide on preventing condensation and mould growth.

Check your radiators when they’re on

If you find any radiators that are colder at the top than the bottom after the heating’s been running for a while, they need bleeding. This will remove trapped air inside the system and is a simple task, using a standard radiator key. First, make sure you turn the heating off and cover the floor around the radiator to avoid any spills. Once you’ve bled your radiators, your central heating system will run more efficiently, keeping you warm while saving on energy bills. You may need to ‘top up’ your boiler having bled the radiators, so make sure you have the manual to hand or know how to do this using the lever or tap (called a filling loop). Check the pressure on the boiler gauge to see if this is low.

Check gutters and downpipes

As leaves fall, gutters and drainpipes can get blocked, preventing the free flow of rain water away from your property. If this is your responsibility as a tenant, unblocking these will prevent water damage, which is often expensive to put right.

Know where to find the stopcock

If there’s a leak in your home, you’ll be able to turn off the main water supply straightaway using the stopcock – limiting damage and avoiding an insurance claim.

Get working chimneys swept

Depending on the fuel you burn, working chimneys need regularly sweeping, up to four times a year. The free passage of dangerous combustion gasses prevents chimney fires and even carbon monoxide poisoning. Always use a professional. For further guidance, visit the National Association of Chimney Sweeps (nacs.org.uk).

Know what you’re responsible for outside your property

Owners of apartments are responsible for maintaining their own property. This usually means its interior, but you may also need to take care of repairs to exterior parts. Common examples include windows and window frames, which can let in water and cold if they’re not well maintained and lead to costly repairs. If you need any advice here, just get in touch.

Alert us about any emergency repairs

At Gateway, we regularly check the properties we look after, both the building’s main fabric and the common areas. If you spot an issue before we do, just let the team know.

Finally, check your insurance policy

Make sure you’re covered for your household contents, as well as the buildings insurance if that’s your responsibility. As a customer of the Gateway Group, you can benefit from highly competitive policies from our subsidiary company, Associated Insurance Services.

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