ARTICLE Donna Blaber – First published in Renovate magazine
With winter doing its best to keep most of us indoors, it’s a good time to take stock of your home, plan any upcoming renovations and landscaping, and check your equipment and tools are ship-shape and ready for spring's arrival.
· Remove light shades room by room, wash and replace. Consider replacing any broken or outdated shades, a relatively inexpensive alteration which can instantly modernise your home.
· On a windy day, check your home for air leaks, particularly around windows and doors. Use a lighter, match or a stick of incense to locate a breeze. As a temporary measure leaks can be caulked, however long term window framing may need to be replaced.
· If cold air leaches in under your front or back door, add a new door sweep.
· During cold snaps, particularly in the South Island where pipes can be susceptible to freezing in extreme temperatures, allow water to slowly drip from faucets overnight.
· Monitor your guttering and downspouts for any sign of damage, particularly after a storm. Remember to also keep an eye on roofing and gutters on garden sheds, free-standing garages, etc.
· Keep a check on drains, ensuring they do not block, as water must always flow freely away from your home.
· Keep your home healthy by ensuring it is well ventilated; open windows daily to keep fresh air circulating and to release stale air. A well ventilated home will reduce condensation which causes mildew.
· If your home is prone to condensation, open cabinet doors (under the sink, etc) overnight to allow warm air to circulate.
· If your energy bill is high, consider alternative heating options. Check that your hot water cylinder has a cylinder wrap. If not, add this item to your shopping list. In the meantime, cover your cylinder with an old blanket to retain heat. Wrap pipes with heat tape or similar to insulate.
· Work for professional painters slows down in winter so it is a budget-friendly time to consider painting a couple of rooms. However, adequate ventilation is imperative, so choose rooms that you can easily close off.
· Retouch and spot paint walls and interior doors where required with previously-used leftover paint.
· Bring your lawn mower undercover for servicing. An older mower will benefit from a rust treatment, adding years to its life.
· Remove any tree branches broken in winter storms and ensure plants which come in contact with your home are kept in check.
· Stake all plants (if you haven’t already done so) in high wind zones.