The cold can dam­age your home so check your prop­erty

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Grace Ham­mon

THE RICS (Royal In­sti­tu­tion of Char­tered Sur­vey­ors) is urg­ing house­hold­ers to be aware of the dam­ag­ing ef­fects of cold weather.

The prop­erty ex­perts warns that once the snow and ice has melted, it can re­veal ar­eas that need im­prov­ing or re­pair­ing.

Char­tered sur­veyor Jonathan Char­ters-Reid, of Char­ters-Reid & As­so­ci­ates and a York­shire RICS spokesper­son, says: “The ex­te­rior of a house will take a bat­ter­ing dur­ing these ex­tremely harsh weather con­di­tions. So once the snow and ice has cleared up, a 360 de­gree as­sess­ment of its con­di­tion is ad­vis­able – think roof, walls, floors, win­dows and doors. These need to be im­proved and re­paired by seal­ing and in­su­lat­ing bet­ter where pos­si­ble, ready for fur­ther freez­ing weather con­di­tions.”

But it is not just the ex­te­rior of a prop­erty that can be dam­aged by sub-zero tem­per­a­tures.

Mr Char­ters-Reid adds: “Let­ting a prop­erty breathe warm air out is just as im­por­tant as stop­ping cold air from com­ing in. To­day’s life­style of show­ers, wash­ing up, pe­ri­odic short bouts of heat­ing through­out the day and a lack of ven­ti­la­tion can lead to a build-up of what amounts daily to litres of wa­ter which forms con­den­sa­tion and damp on win­dows, walls, floors and ceil­ings. This prob­lem can be re­duced by sim­ply open­ing the win­dows ev­ery now and then.”

The RICS rec­om­mends that house­hold­ers carry out a win­ter prop­erty au­dit once the weather im­proves. Ar­eas that need to checked in­clude: Roof This can be in­spected safely from ground level us­ing binoc­u­lars. In­spect the roof and re­place any cracked tiles. If chim­ney pots are in place but not in-use con­sider pro­tect­ing them, by fit­ting ven­ti­lated cowls. In­spect the flash­ings around chim­ney stacks and at abut­ments – re­place any that are de­fec­tive and re-fix any that are loose.

Loft Check the in­su­la­tion is in good con­di­tion and that there are no ar­eas where in­su­la­tion is missing. Avoid over in­su­lat­ing as it is im­por­tant that the tanks and pipes in the loft do not freeze, so do not in­su­late be­low the tank and make sure the lid is firmly fit­ted to the cold-wa­ter tank.

Gut­ters/drains Clear of any left over twigs, leaves and de­bris – take par­tic­u­lar care that the gul­leys are clear as over­flow­ing gut­ters can drench walls and cause dam­age. Check for signs of leak­ing gut­ters and rain­wa­ter pipes. Walls A third of heat lost in the home is through the walls – cav­ity wall in­su­la­tion is a good op­tion. Check the point­ing – frost can play havoc with poorly main­tained walls. Make sure wa­ter can run off the prop­erty; fill gaps to ce­ment an­gle fil­lets at wall junc­tions. Win­dows Check perime­ters of all win­dows to make sure wa­ter flows away from glass and doesn’t col­lect on the sill, or drain be­hind it It is im­por­tant to min­i­mize drafts – if dou­ble-glaz­ing is not in place (it cuts heat loss through win­dows by 50 per cent), con­sider fit­ting cheaper op­tions such as sec­ondary glaz­ing or put poly­thene across the win­dow frames. Cur­tains can make a big dif­fer­ence to heat loss. Doors Stop draughts through let­ter­boxes by fit­ting a cover and put a sealant around the door frames. Floor­boards If there are stripped floors in place con­sider putting down rugs in the win­ter to re­duce drafts up be­tween the boards. Heat­ing sys­tems Check your heat­ing sys­tem is in or­der; ser­vice boil­ers, in­su­late hot wa­ter tanks, bleed radiators. Make sure that climb­ing plants, shrubs and bushes do not ob­struct boiler flues – if this is the case the boiler should be in­spected by a spe­cial­ist.

For more de­tails view the RICS Prop­erty Makeover Guide at:­ful­guides. To find a sur­veyor in your area visit www.rics­ or call the RICS Con­tact Cen­tre on 0870 333 1600.

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