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Make hay while the sun shines: How to avoid maintenance mayhem in the summer

There’s no doubt, summer is officially here. As the UK roasts in a heatwave, it can be easy to sit back and relax – after all, what can possibly go wrong? Surely winter is the season for property emergencies, with freezing pipes, exploding boilers and downpours causing floods, misery and maintenance mayhem.

Don’t get too relaxed though, summer isn’t one long picnic – there’s plenty that can go wrong in this sunny season. Before you relax in the garden with a glass of Pimms, make sure you’ve got your seasonal jobs under control, or summer maintenance woes could end up as the wasp in your ice-cream.

Evicting uninvited guests

Everyone likes to be out and about in the summer, meeting up with friends and enjoying the warm weather. Annoyingly, pests are no different. The population of rats, fleas, bedbugs, wasps, and all sorts of creepy crawlies explode as the mercury rises, and these aren’t the sort of guests your tenant is likely to enjoy sharing their BBQ with.

Nobody is immune to these pesky critters, but fast action and preventative measures can help slow down their summer party, and make the task of getting rid of them that little bit easier. When a new tenant moves in make sure they are aware of the requirements to keeping your property as pest-free as possible, including:

  • Ensure the property is maintained to a clean and hygienic standard
  • All food should ideally be stored in the fridge, freezer or airtight containers
  • Food waste to be disposed of into a closed bin
  • No rubbish isn’t allowed to linger outside the property

If you allow pets, remember that pests are just as happy eating dog biscuits as HobNobs, so treat any pet food with the same regard as human food!

Remember to remind your tenant that even the best-kept homes can find themselves with a pest problem – so if they have the slightest inkling that they may be sharing their home with a non-rent paying tenant, to let you know immediately. As soon as you are aware you can work together to start managing the problem. Left unchecked, in warm weather, pests such as bed bugs can multiply very quickly, and very soon you can find yourself with a pricey problem to eradicate.

Prepare for a rainy day

I don’t want to tempt fate… but (at the time of writing) it’s not raining. There’s not a cloud in the sky, there’s no hint of storms, no whisper of drizzle, and I’ve not even packed a coat ‘just in case’. Some might say it’s because it’s June, and its therefore summer and this should be expected… but realistically, we live in the UK, so it’s doubtful that it will last.

Now is the time to grab that ladder and get a good look at the state of your guttering and drainage. It’s tempting to ignore this problem until it becomes an issue, but it’s far simpler to do a quick check for blockages now, and remove any moss or dry leaves that could cause problem, before everything becomes clogged and soggy. It’s not much fun balancing on a ladder in the driving rain and wind, trying to scoop out mulched-up leaves and who-knows-what in order to prevent a flood in a conservatory – much better to carry out a bit of preventative, proactive maintenance!

Heating system once over – yes, honestly. The very last thing you are likely to be thinking of this week is whether or not the heating systems in your property works. Fans are flying off the shelves, you may be wondering whether fitting air conditioning in your bed is an extravagance, and the thought of cranking up a boiler probably fills you with dread.

However, summer will be over in the blink of an eye, and when the evenings get chilly again and your tenants power up their radiators after a few months of using them as sunhat storage, you may be glad that you took the opportunity to give them the once over. After all, if there’s anything that needs further attention, your tenants will be glad that you’re dealing with it when they’re not reliant on the heating, rather that leaving them chilly when the temperature drops!

Bleeding radiators removes any air bubbles from the system, and allows them to get up to temperature quickly and evenly. It’s a simple process, and other than a quick blast of full-on heating at the start of the proceedings, you shouldn’t have to suffer too much in the heat – honestly!

You’ll need: A few old towels, Radiator Key

1. Turn the heating on – make sure that all the radiators are on and the
heating is at full power.
2. Check which parts of the radiators are warming up (you may need a towel
for this) - Cover your hand in the towel and run it carefully over all the
radiators. If a radiator is working at full capacity if should be equally hot
all over, if there’s trapped air, it will be different temperatures in
different areas.
3. Switch off the central heating – you need to be able to handle the
radiators, so they can’t be burning hot!
4. Allow everything to cool down sufficiently
5. When cool, lay an old towel under the valve at the side of the radiator
6. Insert the key into the square groove in the centre of the valve
7. Wrap another old towel under the valve, ready to catch any drips
8. Turn the key anti-clockwise. If your radiator has air inside you should
hear gas hissing at this point – don’t panic!
9. Once the gas has all escaped, liquid will come out, so you must be
ready to close the valve quickly (turning the key clockwise). Your old towels
should help catch this excess.
10. Once you have bled all of your radiators, make sure the pressure on
your boiler is at the correct level.
11. Every boiler is different, but the manual should give a guide as to
the optimum pressure for your make.
12. If the pressure has dropped below where it should be, you can ‘top up’
by using the tap on your boiler – this is called the filing loop. Turn the tap
until the arrow on your boilers display points at the optimum number.
13. Turn the heating on to run a test on your radiators – check for any
cool spots and if they all heat evenly you have solved the problem!

Perfect for painting

If you’d rather stick to being outside and making the most of the sunshine, now is a perfect time to smarten up the outside of your property with any painting that needs doing. If you are working on any wooded structures, the paint will bond better to the material if it is dry, which will give you a more long-lasting, durable finish.

So, if you’ve been eyeing up that peeling front door or window frames for a
while, there’s no excuse now – even the weather is on your side!

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