Is your Holiday Property Ready for Winter

Winter in Cornwall is not as cold as many parts of the UK, but that shouldn’t tempt us to assume that no special measures are required. With temperatures intermittently diving below zero, as high wind and heavy rain commonplace, it’s prudent to secure your unoccupied property against the risks of extreme weather.
There are a few simple steps that anyone can effect in order to ensure that the winter conditions don’t impact on your holiday home.

Check the water supply

Being able to locate the “stop cock” (the tap that turns off the supply coming into the house) is essential. It’s usually outside, under a metal cover, but sometimes inside the property. If a pipe should burst, this will need to be turned off to prevent water damage. Make sure the stop cock is in good condition and can be turned by hand, and that there is no water leaking out of it. Let your guests know where it is located.

Examine your taps and insulate your pipes

Make sure that taps and pipework inside and out are undamaged and free from leaks. Even a slow drip can cause a lot of damage over a long period. Check that all exposed pipes are insulated with pipe-lagging to reduce the risk of freezing. Don’t forget the ones in the loft space and basement!

Set the heating

If the property is unoccupied during the winter, the heating should still be turned on at a constant low level that will prevent pipes from freezing and protect the house from damp and condensation. This also means that the house can be brought up to a comfortable temperature more quickly in the event of a last minute booking.

Check your gutters, gullies and drains

Periodic checks to the gutters, gullies and drains of the house will make sure that water can flow easily, in the right direction and into the appropriate location during and after heavy rain.
If drainage becomes blocked with leaves or other detritus the resulting buildup of water can cause considerable damage and ingress of damp. If a downpipe fills up with water because of a blockage, it will potentially freeze and break the pipe. Soil or debris building up at the base of your walls can be a sign that gutters or pipes are not draining properly.

Inspect the roof

Loose, damaged or missing tiles can allow the ingress of water into the roof space, which in turn will find its way down through the structure of the house, damaging ceilings, walls and contents. Falling tiles can also be a hazard to guests, tradespeople and passers by.
These simple checks are all too often forgotten by homeowners, which leads to un-necessary damage to the property and a loss of income while the problems are being dealt with.

Remember too to check your insurance policy. Make sure you know what the terms are in the event the property is unoccupied and what you are expected to do.
If you’d like any advice or tips on any aspect of holiday letting, please telephone Alison, Charmian or George on +44 (0)1208 895 354, or email property@corncott.com or simply pop round and visit us in our office in Wadebridge.