Empty Property Care in Winter

Winter is on the way, which can spell disaster for empty property’s hoping to be let or sold in the New Year.

Even empty properties require ongoing maintenance and at Property Formula we have seen a lot of times when this can go wrong. From burst pipes to broken gutters, our tips below should help prevent any property disasters.

Service the boiler and check radiators
A boiler service should be carried out annually, but the start of winter is a good time to do so, to ensure the boiler is going to survive being left on over the winter and ready for use in the spring.

Keep the heating on
It can be beneficial to keep the heating running at a low temperature all day and night, though if the property is to be empty all winter, then a couple of times a day should be enough. This keeps any water in the pipes from freezing and expanding pipework, leading to a leak and potentially extensive damage.

Drain heating and plumbing systems
If you would prefer not to pay utility bills for an empty property all winter, then it is essential to drain heating and plumbing systems to minimise the risk of leaking pipework

Turn off water to external taps
Not all properties have separately isolated external taps, so it is advisable to either drain down the system and turn off the water at the mains stop cock or ensure the external tap is properly covered and insulated.

Clear the gutters
After autumn, most of our gutters will be full of leaves, moss and other debris that can lead to weeping joints, overflowing gutters or cause twisting to gutters from the extra weight, especially if topped up with lots of snow.

Check the roof
It is worth making sure that roof coverings are complete, with no missing, slipped or damage tiles that could become dislodge in high winds. You should also make sure mortar beds and joints to the ridge tiles are not deteriorated as this can cause them to become dislodged or allow rainwater into the roof space.

Ensure the home is secure
An empty house can stand out like a sore thumb when is gets dark before the rush hour. If not keen on drawn blinds, then timed lights can give the impression someone is home. You should ensure all external doors are adequately locked.

Check your insurance policy
Some insurers have specific stipulations for empty properties they cover, so you should check what is required to ensure no claims made can be invalidated