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3 tips for home safety and maintenance this winter.

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With winter in full swing, it’s time to take some safety precautions to ensure your property and its environment are secure and in good working order.

Security

The long, dark nights of winter are a security threat to your property and belongings. Now is the time to lock and secure all entries to your property to ensure opportunists are kept out. This seems like simple advice but Thames Valley Police report many burglaries are due to intruders letting themselves in through unlocked doors and windows, so vigilance and a healthy dose of common sense are key this season. If you are away for a period of time, set lights and a radio on a timer to come on periodically and ask a trusted neighbour to check your property until you return.

Mould and damp

Mould and damp are not only unsightly, they are particularly hazardous to your health, and to the structure of your property.  Spores released from the dreaded black spots can cause respiratory problems, inflammation of the skin and nausea. Unfortunately, mould is more common over colder months due to damp conditions and lack of ventilation. Prevent mould from growing by keeping your home well ventilated – open a window after showering and ensure your extractor fan is working. If you are unlucky enough to experience damp or mould in your home, invest in a mould remover kit and hire a dehumidifier, if necessary. With particularly bad cases of damp, you need to call in the professionals!

Boiler

Your boiler provides you with hot water and heat during the cold snap – making it essential to keep on top of its maintenance. A visual inspection of your boiler regularly is important, look for any damage or cracks and keep an eye out for leaks around the house. You must call a gas safe registered engineer if you suspect any issues with your boiler. Over the colder months, you must check your boiler pressure every 4 weeks (it should be around 1 bar) and ensure it is professionally serviced once a year. If you or your tenants are away over the winter, leave the heating on a timer on a low setting, this can prevent pipes freezing.

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