Getting a head start on your winter home to do list is important. If you’re lagging behind on that list, don’t stress out: there’s still a little time left to make sure you won’t be wrangling with the worst of winter.

By Cath Jenkin

Set aside a weekend to fix what needs to be done, and book the professionals you need to have in to help. Don’t forget: hire a reputable, registered professional who is well-qualified in what you need.

No normal winter

All bets are off for a ‘normal’ winter. The global climate crisis has created unexpected weather conditions across the planet. Being prepared for extreme weather conditions is never a bad idea, and you’d rather be ready than caught with your pipes frozen.

Clear those pipes

It’s not such a South African problem, but frozen up pipes are still a concern. Ensuring your outdoor pipes don’t freeze up is important, to prevent cracking, water loss, and expensive repairs. These are the outdoor pipes you should pay attention to:

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Your air-conditioner: It’s your best friend in summer, but it still needs some love during winter. Close the vents on your condenser unit, and cover it with a protective cover. Check all of the pipes leading into the unit and out of your house. For extra protection and insulation, insulate them with foam. Your installation company should be able to assist with this.

Water pipes: When water freezes, it expands. Ice in your pipes will wreak havoc not only the pipes, but potentially on your home’s water supply and systems too. Insulate exterior pipes where necessary, and act on any cracks, blockages, or problems the moment you notice them.

Your home maintenance checklist

Clear the gutters

Your home’s gutters are extremely important, as they keep your roof clear of water and help to prevent leaks. But, if left unmaintained, dysfunctional gutters could gut your household budget. A build up of sticks, leaves, and other debris can cause blockages, so make sure they are cleared out before the cold sets in.

Once you’ve cleared your home’s gutters, find a workable solution for keeping them clear. Chat to your local hardware store for advice on what will work best for your home, or call in the experts to help you decide. There are plastic, aluminium, and other types of solutions available, so finding a cost-effective and functional solution won’t be too difficult.

Getting your home ready for winter

Seal up

A cracked window is a pain (this pun was too irresistible to ignore!) in summer, and it’s doubly worse in winter. Check all your windows and doors for cracks, warps, and similar defects. Luckily, these can usually be fixed DIY-style, but if you’re not too confident about your putty skills, summon the professionals to make sure those nasty drafts don’t get to you.

Waterproof your wood

Outdoor wooden fittings will be exposed to rain and cold during this chilly season. Wood expands when it’s exposed to water, so waterproofing your outdoor fittings, decking, and furniture, is vital. Being exposed to water can also cause wooden furniture and fittings to turn mouldy, and cause them to lose integrity. Don’t take any chances when it comes to wooden window frames, fittings, furniture, and your deck.

Clean your chimney

We’ve chatted about your chimney before, but if you haven’t yet checked it, now’s the time! If you come across any nests, or animal homes, you’ll need to clear them out. Of course, you may feel distraught over having to relocate animals before you can cosy up in front of the fireplace. That’s why several wildlife organisations are on hand to help out with advice or hands-on relocation services. We recommend contacting one of the following organisations for advice, should you suspect you have surprise additional family members in your chimney:

  • Free Me KZN
  • Centre for Rehabilitation of Wildlife
  • Owl Rescue Centre

Trim back the trees

Summer’s glorious sunshine made sure your trees, bushes, and shrubs grew with aplomb, but branches, heavy with rain and frost could present a hazard. Now that they’ve shed their autumn leaves, it’ll also be easier to trim trees back. Inspect the trees in your garden for any signs of disease, dead wood, mould, or other problems. Here again, don’t be shy to avoid DIY: a reputable tree feller is far better equipped to cut back a big tree than you are.

Grease up the garage door

Metal fittings can create surprise winter problems. Metal is known to contract when it’s cold, and this could affect the functioning of your garage door, automated gates, and similar facilities. A malfunctioning garage door or gate is the last thing you want to deal with when you’re trying to get indoors and out of the cold! Chat to your installation company for advice, or apply extra lubricant during the colder months.

This article was first published on

Author: Private Property