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Seasonal update – Autumn Watch

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As autumn sets in the days are getting noticeably shorter and it’s getting cooler and gustier. These beautiful autumn days won’t last forever and now is the perfect time to conduct an MOT on your home in preparation for the colder months.

Here’s our checklist to take your home into the autumn/winter season:

Check the heating – chances are you have not had your heating on for a good few months, even though the temperatures have dropped. You should turn your heating on now and check all of the radiators, bleed them if necessary and then switch them back off safe in the knowledge they’re in working order for when you need them.

If you move in during winter months, try to keep the heating at a constant lower temperature throughout your home, so that the structure of your home warms up and dries out gradually. Fluctuating temperatures have the greatest effect on shrinkage and the formation of cracks.

Your home needs to be kept well ventilated to allow moisture to evaporate as the structure dries out. Leave windows, or at least the trickle vents, open for as long as you can each day.

Service your boiler – When was your boiler last serviced? Was it in the last 12 months? If not, get your boiler serviced now. You can contact Vaillant or check your Home Information File for your boiler commissioner.

Clean your gutters – During autumn months blocked gutters are a common problem due to leaves falling from trees blocking them. Blocked gutters can cause pipes to overflow – make sure you regularly clean them out to allow continuous rainwater flow.

Maintain your garden – As with any new build home, your garden may take a number of seasons to truly establish, particularly if you live in an area which has a more clay like soil. Although we provide the appropriate amount of topsoil to your garden before we lay turf, this alone will not see your turf stay green and healthy – effort and maintenance is key:

  • Mow less frequently during autumn and raise the height of cut as the growth rate of the grass slows down. This will help the lawn to withstand the last of the dry weather, and also keep it resistant to treading as the wet weather arrives.
  • It’s the perfect time to rectify summer damage by repairing a patchy lawn with turf or seed.
  • Protect your grass from traffic – don’t walk, play or let pets on it in wet weather, particularly during the dormant season and when the ground is frozen or snow covered. Remove objects from the grass after use, such as furniture and outdoor toys.
  • Rake off leaves, dead moss and thatch to encourage healthy growth. Aerate the lawn by spiking the whole area with a garden fork to improve drainage and aerate the surface topsoil to encourage root growth.
  • Feeding– you can harden your lawn for winter by applying an autumn lawn feed. Do this after scarifying and aerating but before applying a top dressing. Do not use summer feeds that are high in nitrogen as this will only result in weak, soft growth, which will be prone to disease in the autumn weather.
  • Any brown patches caused by drought will quickly green up by themselves when the rain comes and the temperatures fall.
  • Allow time for your garden to drain naturally – all garden issues reported to our Customer Service team will be reviewed in Spring.

Many issues which arise with lawns can be avoided through consistent homeowner maintenance, so we strongly recommend following the below advice. Useful information is also provided by the Royal Horticultural Society via their website.

Here are a few extra tips:

  • Shut off and drain your external taps to prevent freezing during cold temperatures
  • Check your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors – check the batteries are in working order
  • External lighting and alarm systems – check they are in working order
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