Preparing Your Home for Winter: The Essential Winter Maintenance Checklist

Winter maintenance checking guttering and roof

A couple of winters ago in Adelaide it rained heavily. The storms were quick and ferocious, causing small leaks and overflowing gutters in our older house. Like many busy families, we had other priorities and didn’t address these issues right away. It’s kind of ironic, really, considering we specialise in dampness.  However, a particularly heavy rain event and a complaint from a friend’s son about water dripping from the ceiling light spurred us into action. The very next day, we created this Winter Maintenance Checklist.  We wanted something we could refer to every year in May to make sure we prepare our house for winter and avoid any nasty surprises.

And I know it currently seems like rain is not coming anytime soon, but it is never too early to get on top of some of these tasks.  

Winter Maintenance Checklist

  1. Clean Out and Check Your Gutters
  • Why It Matters: Cleaning your gutters prevents water damage to your eaves, roof, and foundations.
  • How To Do It: Empty gutters of leaves, mud, and debris, then hose clean where possible. Check for rust spots, holes, and breaks, and repair or replace as needed. If necessary, get professional help from a roofing plumber.
  1. Check Your Downpipes
  • Why It Matters: Properly connected downpipes prevent falling damp, which can cause rising damp symptoms such as salt stains, blistering paint, and mould.
  • How To Do It: Ensure downpipes are attached properly, check for holes and breaks, and confirm they drain to stormwater. Fix any issues, and refer to professional help from a roofing plumber if required. 
  1. Inspect Your Roof
  • Why It Matters: Cracked, broken, or missing roof tiles and damaged flashing can lead to leaks and damp patches on your ceilings.
  • How To Do It: Check for any visible damage to roof tiles and flashing. Secure ridge tiles and call a roof expert if you notice any damp patches inside your home.
  1. Check Drainage Around Your Home
  • Why It Matters: Proper drainage prevents water from pooling against your home and seeping in during heavy rain.
  • How To Do It: Look for areas where water pools and clean out any blocked drains. Consider installing additional drains to direct water away from problem areas.
  1. Inspect Your Rainwater Tank
  • Why It Matters: Ensuring your rainwater tank is secure and functioning properly prevents water from overflowing and damaging your home.
  • How To Do It: Check connections and overflows for debris and ensure they are in good working order. If your tank is full, use or drain some water in preparation for heavy rains.
  1. Prune Your Trees
  • Why It Matters: Pruning dead or overhanging branches prevents them from falling on your roof during a storm.
  • How To Do It: Trim branches that could potentially fall on your house or power lines.
  1. Clean Your Chimney
  • Why It Matters: A clean chimney prevents safety issues and fire hazards.
  • How To Do It: Clean out your working chimney before winter and get it inspected by a professional every few years.
    For more information, check out this blog post by the CFS. 
  1. Check Windows and Doors
  • Why It Matters: Ensuring windows and doors are properly sealed helps keep your home warm and prevents drafts and moisture from entering.
  • How To Do It: Inspect the caulking and weather stripping around windows and doors. Replace any damaged seals and ensure windows and doors close tightly.
  1. Check Your Skylights
  • Why It Matters: Ensuring skylights are properly sealed prevents leaks and water damage.
  • How To Do It: Inspect skylights for cracks, leaks, and proper sealing. Make sure the flashing around the skylight is intact and secure. Repair or replace any damaged components.
  1. Increase Ventilation
  • Why It Matters: Proper ventilation helps prevent dampness and improves indoor air quality.
  • How To Do It: Ensure all ventilation systems are working properly. Use exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms, and consider installing additional vents if needed.

By following this comprehensive winter maintenance checklist, you can protect your home from the damaging effects of heavy rain and storms. Regular maintenance not only ensures the safety and comfort of your home but also preserves its value.

One last tip: While doing all of these checks, why not check your walls for any signs of salt damp as well? Get in touch if we can help with anything!

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