Leaving your holiday home empty over the winter months is always a daunting prospect, and the unpredictability of the British weather makes it hard to prepare. Here, Nick Cowley, managing director of PVCu and composite windows and doors expert Euramax, gives his advice for making sure your holiday home is ready for the winter months ahead.
The day you lock your holiday home up for the end of peak season is a sure sign that winter is on its way. But the British weather can be notoriously difficult to predict and preparing for the unknown can be challenging.
Protect your pipes
Holiday homes aren’t as well insulated as a standard house, so any water left in the pipes is susceptible to freezing, causing them to burst and damaging the boiler, not to mention the interior of your property.
With this in mind, it is not uncommon for a holiday park to offer what is known as a ‘drain down’ service — this usually involves draining water from all the pipework, disconnecting the water and putting anti-freeze down all the drains. Maintenance teams usually check the anti-freeze levels in the central heating system, disconnect the gas and make sure that all electrical switches and lights are turned off. However, while draining a property’s pipes is an important part of the maintenance schedule, there is always more that you can do to ensure your holiday home is safeguarded during closed season.
Simple but mighty actions
Checking for loose side and roof panels, or holes in the roof, is always advisable. A leaking roof can leave your property at the mercy of the elements and the damage inside might not be so easy to detect straight away. Setting your central heating to frost control is also sensible to keep it ticking over should a cold snap arrive.
No one can really predict the severity of the weather, and damage can still be caused just by leaving the property empty for a few months. Simple actions like clearing out old food and turning off the empty fridge-freezer will ensure you don’t return to any unpleasant surprises in the spring. It’s always a good idea to jar the door of the fridge open and place a towel down to absorb any moisture.
Twice the protection
Moisture is the main enemy of the holiday home, providing the perfect conditions for mould and mildew to grow. By improving the flow of air, you can prevent it from building on curtains and furniture. Moving furniture to the middle of the room will allow air to circulate and you can even use a bowl of salt or cat litter placed in each room to absorb moisture from the air. Open the curtains and take down nets as condensation build-up on windowsills can also cause mildew.
Performing these actions will certainly help prevent the consequences of moisture in your holiday home, but the best way to protect against condensation is to make sure you have good fitting windows and doors. Double glazed windows can keep your holiday home warm and help reduce condensation, keeping the dreaded moisture at bay. Euramax offers a variety of windows that have been specifically designed for the holiday home market, as well as a dedicated design and development team that can come up with a solution to suit your requirements.
It’s hard to guess what the winter weather will bring — will we have another Beast from the East, or are we set for a mild, wet and windy Christmas? Both can be worrying when you have property that’s some distance from home but, by taking the right precautionary measures, you will be able to look forward a hassle-free return to your holiday haven in the spring.