1. Check the roofs. Have any broken or missing tiles or slates replaced and other damage repaired. Keeping the rain out is one of the most important things you can do.
2. Clear out leaves, moss and debris from rainwater gutters, downpipes and gullies. Reset any displaced joints.
3. Birds, squirrels, rats and mice can displace the insulation in the roof, and so can we humans when rummaging about. So, check the insulation and consider increasing it, as this could help keep down your heating bill.
4. Have the boiler and heating serviced and check that all thermostats and programmers are working and set at a sensible temperature. And when the house is unoccupied, turn the temperature down. Again this will save on heating bills.
5. However, if you have a large old brick or stone house with thick walls, don’t let the structure get cold as it will take a lot of energy to rebuild a comfortable temperature. Doing so may cause condensation on the walls, which sometimes results in mould and spores. These can prove a hazard particularly for those with breathing difficulties and should be avoided.
6. As to keeping the heat in your home, ensure outside doors and the windows fit well and consider fitting draught proofing strips where there are gaps between the frames. Keep doors inside the house closed to reduce heat loss from unnecessary air circulation.
7. Don’t forget the curtains. Draw them after dark and use thicker ones if windows are single-glazed.
8. Keep south-facing curtains open during the day to take advantage of the sunshine, which will help heat the house.
9. Check the woodwork on windows and repair now if necessary. Otherwise, there will be a risk of penetrating damp affecting the interior of the house.
10. Lastly, check the paintwork on the window frames and redecorate before the weather deteriorates. Thorough preparation of the surfaces and use of good quality paint is key to providing a lasting finish. By November, the best painting weather will have passed so act now if you need to.
Grillo LLP Chartered Surveyors, Godalming (www.grillollp.com; 01483 860 600)