With the cold weather upon us, we’re likely to notice some season-related issues that can make our houses unsafe or uncomfortable. Fortunately, all is not lost. We have a few tips for quick and easy home renovation that can help you get rid of some winter problems.
Here are some things to look out for at home during the cold season.
Mould – This icky problem is an annual headache for many homeowners in Australia during the winter. Not only does it look displeasing, mould spores can also cause health issues. Mould also usually follows when unflued gas heaters expel water vapour CO2 that condense on surfaces.
Blocked gutters – Gutters and downpipes can accumulate lots of debris during the year as branches, leaves, and all sorts of matter fall into them. These can lead to leaks, mould build-up, bugs infestations, and flooding.
Draughty homes – When air escapes or enters your home, your cooling and heating systems will have to overcompensate to keep conditions tolerable, driving up power costs. You can usually tell if you have air leaks by lighting an incense stick and seeing where the smoke goes.
Creaky floorboards and difficult drawers - Wood reacts oddly to extreme weather. Old wooden drawers can be harder to open when they swell due to the air moisture while floorboards can turn squeaky when the dry winter shrinks the boards and they rub against each other.
Broken heating systems and fireplaces – Malfunctioning heaters and fireplaces are a nightmare during the wintertime and they can also be dangerous if left in disrepair. Dirty filters, issues with ignition, and faulty thermostats and just some issues you might encounter with heaters while weird odours, stains and soot build-up, visible cracks, and unreliable heat production are some issues with fireplaces.
Winter home renovation tips to look into
Now that you’re acquainted with the problems homeowners might face during the winter, let us give you some ideas on what you must do to ensure that your house is safe and comfortable year-round.
First off, if you’re dealing with mould build-up, one of the major steps you need to take is to keep moisture retention down inside the house. Do this by limiting the use of humidifiers, installing and using exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens, and keeping windows open (when weather conditions allow) to allow proper ventilation within the house. You can also make sure that there are no plumbing issues causing damp areas where there shouldn’t be any.
However, if you somehow already find yourself in a mouldy situation, you can clean out surfaces with a mild detergent or a 4-parts vinegar to 1-part water solution, or try a diluted bleach solution. However, if you choose to use bleach, make sure to take proper precautions. You can also hire professionals to deep clean certain items.
If a clogged gutter is your problem, it’s typically a matter of pulling debris out of the gutter. However, we recommend calling home improvement professionals as they’re properly trained to climb up the roof and clean the gutters and they’ll have the appropriate equipment to clear out the mess.
Home draughts are a winter problem that you can solve in under a day if you have the right tools. It really just depends on where the air is coming or going through. For instance, if you detect the draught coming from doors or windows, you can install some weatherstripping (they’re usually made from felt, vinyl tubing, or rubber), use foam insulation, or apply sealants.
Double-glazing windows can also help but it might be a costly fix so if you don’t mind and want to keep costs low, ABC News said you can “hack” it by putting bubble wrap on your windows to help keep the warmth inside during the winter (and the cool air during the summer).
If you’re looking to ensure that drawers and floorboards make no more noise, you can rub a wax candle on a drawer’s runners so it moves more smoothly when you open or close the drawers. On the other hand, talcum powder can do the trick to quiet down your floorboards. Simply sprinkle some on the joins where the sounds are occurring and then use a damp cloth to wipe off the excess lest your floors become too slippery.
Repairs and maintenance services during COVID-19
Although we mentioned some DIY maintenance tips for the home during winter, there are a few things we believe should be left to experts.
With the recommendations for physical distancing, be wary that your service provider is aware of all COVID-19 safety measures and regulations that they need to follow. Ensure that your contractor hasn’t been out of the country, doesn’t display any symptoms, and doesn’t have the virus. You can communicate primarily by phone or e-mail to maintain distance as well.
It is also best to check with the National Coronavirus hotline what can and cannot be permitted in your state at this time.
For information on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), call the Australian Government's National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 or visit the COVID-19 information page.
A good rule of thumb is to make sure you’re preparing for the winter early enough so that you’re not rushing.