Essential home maintenance jobs for a cosy Winter ‘chez vous’

Essential home maintenance jobs for a cosy Winter ‘chez vous’

Life’s scary enough these days without us adding to your worries, so we’re not going to tell you loads of horror stories about what will happen if you don’t carry out what we consider to be essential home maintenance jobs to get done before Winter kicks in.

We’re all about prevention – getting on top of things now, so you can cosy up ‘chez vous’ and ride out the pandemic in comfort. It’s worth it for some peace of mind, too; if you do have a problem despite your best efforts to prevent it from happening, your insurers are more likely to pay out, rather than telling you your claim is invalid due to lack of maintenance.

Clipboard and pen at the ready? Okay, here’s your ‘home maintenance jobs’ checklist!

Heating systems

Nothing says ‘cosy’ like that reassuring ‘thwump’ your boiler makes when you turn the central heating up. But there’s more to keeping a house warm than a simple on/off switch, and all those component parts needs looking after, as ‘Plombier – Chauffagiste’, aka Plumbing and Heating expert, JT Williams explains:

“If you’ve got central heating or gas fires, then you’re required by law to get them checked over by a licensed professional once a year. If you’ve not already done it, book an appointment now, as we’re entering our busiest period and appointments are few and far between!

“There’s a lot you can do yourself, too. First, check the lagging on all your pipes – inside and outside – to help prevent pipes from freezing (which is a recipe for flooding disaster!). And when the winter cold really sets in, keep your central heating at 10C at all times. If you’re not at home for a prolonged period during the most severe winter weather, set a timer so that it comes on for an hour a day. It’s also worth knowing where your stopcock is – just in case…”

HOME MAINTENANCE JOBS CHECKLIST

  • Book boiler and/or gas fire in for a service
  • Set minimum temperature on central heating
  • Set timer on central heating
  • Check lagging on pipes in loft, garage and garden
  • Check where the stopcock is

Fires, flues, gutters & roofs

Are your gutters ready for melting snow?

If you have any open fires or stoves, it’s essential that they are also on your list of home maintenance jobs to do before Winter. Annual checks on appliances, flues and chimneys are required by insurance companies for health and safety reasons. You should hire a trained and qualified chimney sweep, like Dan Fox, for this kind of work. Sometimes, you can find roofers who are also insured as chimney sweeps, which can be really handy if there are other issues to deal with ‘up there’. Bradley Raikes runs Raikes Couverture in Morbihan:

“Some people are perfectly capable of clearing their own gutters and checking for loose tiles, but for a lot of people, these are things they either can’t or don’t want to do themselves. And that’s understandable – it’s a long way down from some rooftops! Either way, it’s definitely worth doing these things before winter, when ice, snow and freezing fog can make it all the more tricky!”

HOME MAINTENANCE JOBS CHECKLIST

  • Get stove / burning appliance serviced
  • Get chimney swept
  • Check for loose roof tiles
  • Clear gutters

Lights, power lines & electrics

Looks pretty, but will it work in the dark?

Some Winter home maintenance jobs are pretty obvious, but even so, it’s easy to overlook them…until something (or someone!) goes ‘bump’ in the night. External lighting, for example, serves little purpose during the lighter months, but as soon as the Autumn Equinox has passed, us Europeans descend into darkness. Make sure you’re not fumbling around for your keys in the pouring rain this Winter and get an electrician on board to sort out any problems with your outdoor lights! Electrician, Paul Wilkins, says now is a good time to get a few other important home maintenance jobs done, too:

“There’s a lot of growth in our gardens over Summer and early Autumn, when everything comes into harvest, and it’s not uncommon for trees and shrubs to spread their tentacles towards power lines during this time. Checking the state of them now is much quicker and easier than fixing broken cables later – and coping without electricity while you do it!

“Indoors, check your Christmas lights for loose connections before they go up on the tree or across the fireplace, and make sure you’ve got extension leads that are power-surge protected. When it comes to setting up your lights, be careful not to overload your sockets.”

HOME MAINTENANCE JOBS CHECKLIST

  • Check external lighting works
  • Clear plant and tree growth from power lines
  • Make sure Christmas lights are safe

Windows & doors

Loose windows and doors don’t necessarily make themselves known during the Summer months, but as soon as the weather turns nasty, they’re not just a noisy nuisance, but they let heat escape and cool winds in! Now is the time to think about fixing them or, better still in terms of your environmental footprint, getting them replaced with double glazing, says Allan Robertshaw, the man behind Brittany PVC:

“Because it prevents heat from escaping and cold air from coming in, energy efficient glazing can significantly reduce your heating bills. It can also reduce condensation and noise pollution – making your home a much more comfortable place to be. If you can’t afford new windows and doors, you can still improve the energy efficiency of your home by using heavy curtains.” 

HOME MAINTENANCE JOBS CHECKLIST

  • Check windows and doors for draughts and cold spots
  • Fix loose windows and doors, if possible
  • Put up heavy curtains
  • Consider replacing windows and doors with double glazing

A final word

Of course, none of the home maintenance jobs listed above are even possible if you don’t live there all year round or, indeed, at all. If this is the case, you can save yourself a lot of worry and stress by hiring someone to do it for you, through property management companies like Les Bons Voisins and Charente Assistance.

Finally, keep an eye on all areas of your house – inside and out – to check for any problems that might be developing. And if you need a professional to help, find an artisan you can trust right here, in the Artisan Central directory.

With warmest wishes,

The Artisan Central team!