The chill has gone. You’re not using the central heating as much. Wellington boots are back in hibernation. Spring is here, and the world feels new again!
Spring is one of the most important seasons for doing home maintenance. It’s particularly crucial if you’re a homeowner who’s thinking of selling your home, but it’s equally vital to enjoy a fully functioning household if you want to relax in it with your loved ones over the coming seasons.
So let’s start you off with 5 maintenance tips for some of those essential parts of your home.
1. Clean out your gutters
Autumn and winter came, saw and conquered. All those gorgeously crisp and colourful leaves fell from the trees into your gutters. The wind threw in some other debris, the whole mixture froze and, once it thawed in your gutters, spouts and drains, it became an immovable mulch.
Dirty gutters are an eyesore, yes. They’re also a liability. If you don’t clear them out, water can potentially overflow and get into the foundations of your house, putting it at risk of structural water damage like leaks and flooding.
So, save some cash in the long run and clean your gutters. You’ll thank yourself when the spring showers turn into April downpours and all that water can flow safely away from your home.
This task takes roughly 30 minutes, so there’s no excuse for not getting it done.
What tools do I need to clean my gutters?
You’ll need a ladder, a small hand rake or a similar tool and a hose.
How to clean your gutters
- Climb safely up your ladder (get someone to hold it and keep it steady)
- Remove anything you find in the gutter using your hand and tool
- Run a hose up to your roof so you can ensure that there’s proper drainage all the way down the spout
- When the water pours out, check that it runs away from your home’s foundations
- Ensure all spouts are still securely attached to the brickwork and fix any that have pulled away
2. Clean taps and showerheads
Stop the slow and unsightly build-up of limescale with a quick and easy solution:
- Unscrew your tap covers, sink sprayers and showerheads
- Soak them all together in a washing-up bowl filled with equal parts of vinegar and warm water for 1 hour
- Rinse off with warm water
- Screw them back on and admire their shining surfaces!
Got a more serious issue with your shower than a clogged showerhead? Read more on what damage a leaking shower can do here.
3. Boiler maintenance
Your boiler has worked hard throughout the winter keeping your home cosy and warm. During that cold season, boilers can accumulate soot, scale and debris in their components. Even a small amount of build-up can decrease boiler efficiency by as much as one-third over the colder months.
That’s why spring is the ideal time to carry out a few routine maintenance checks on your boiler.
It’s also a great time of year to call in a Gas Safe registered expert if you need to. Plumbers and gas engineers are much more available in the spring. In winter, they’re rushing from emergency to emergency as this is the most common time when boilers break down.
Even if your boiler seems to have been running smoothly, it’s always a good idea to stay one step ahead and make sure everything is running as it should, to help avoid potentially costly repair bills later in the year.
Start with some simple checks:
1. Look for leaks
Leaks can happen at any time – but more so during winter. The colder weather often causes our pipes to freeze and expand, which over time can cause them to split.
Check whether the seals around the boiler are still in place and that the fittings, such as gaskets and valves are still tightly connected. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye out for drips as even the smallest leak will need to be repaired.
If anything feels loose, out of place or you spot any problems, seek help from an expert to take a closer look.
2. Listen for bubbles
Even the healthiest boilers are known to make some strange noises, especially when heating up all the rooms of your home. However, if your boiler starts to make a bubbling sound, it suggests that something is wrong and you need to get it checked as soon as you can. The build-up of limescale can cause quite a few different issues, so if you hear bubbling, call an engineer.
Read more on noisy boilers and how to fix them with our guide.
3. Check for blockages
Blockages can cause damage to your boiler and central heating so it’s crucial to find any blockages and deal with them quickly to avoid serious damage.
Signs of a blockage
If you’re still using your central heating a little, a blockage becomes noticeable pretty fast; either you don’t feel any heat at all, or the heat you do feel is much less than what you’re expecting. This could equally be caused by problems with your radiators, so you’ll have to rule that out… we’ll talk about that next.
When to call a professional
As a homeowner, it’s a sensible idea to know roughly what you’re looking for when it comes to boiler issues. However, if you’re not 100% confident with your ability to diagnose issues, HomeServe can help.
Finally, if your boiler is more than 15 years old spring is a good time to consider replacing your boiler altogether. It can make a huge difference to your boiler efficiency and therefore reduce your heating bills too.
4. Check and bleed your radiators
This is the other side of the central heating coin; your radiators. In partnership with your boiler, they’ve been keeping you warm all winter.
There’s no better time to check they’re also running efficiently and safely.
Bleed your radiators
Bleeding your radiators is one of the easiest and most important jobs you can do to keep your central heating system running smoothly. If you’ve noticed that your radiators aren’t heating up as quickly as they should, or that they’re cold at the top and hot at the bottom, then bleeding them should do the trick.
You just need a radiator key to let the air out that may have got trapped at the top of the radiator over time. As you’re not using your heating as much, you won’t have to wait for your piping hot radiators to cool down before you bleed them.
Follow our step-by-step How to bleed a radiator guide and you can tick this one off your list.
5. Test your alarms
A change of season is the ideal time to remind yourself to test all your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors so that you know they’re functioning properly and everyone is safe.
Change the alarms’ batteries if you need to. It’s worth noting that alarms can malfunction as they age, so if you bought yours seven or more years ago, it’s probably time to consider replacing them.
If you need professional assistance with your boiler, radiators or pipes, contact HomeServe for assistance and one of our Home Experts will be able to help.