Preparing Your Property For Winter
If you need something repairing, whether it is a white good like a washing machine or a semi-fixed installation like a boiler, first check if it is covered by the warranty or guarantee period first - and also what the extent of cover is.For example, is the machine only covered for parts or is it covered for both parts and labour. Is it covered under any extended warranty you have taken out?
Check if you have a service contract with British Gas or another provider such as your home insurer? Some of these contracts offer a service line that is open on Christmas Day – though you may have to wait a little longer than usual for someone to actually come out to you during the festive period.
We would always advise people to have white goods fixed by a tradesman supplied by the manufacturer of the machine. They will know what they are doing, be familiar with the machine and if they don't fix it right you can always go back to the manufacturer and complain to their Service Help Desk. You cannot do that with a man you plucked frrom the Yellow Pages or the Internet.
But even before you get to winter get things checked out well in advance because if you are not covered by a guarantee or warranty it will probably cost more to get stuff fixed at Christmas time (and even if you have a warranty it will take longer too.) So, if the boiler is making a wheezing noise or the washing machine is clanking, have it checked out now.
Check gutters to ensure they are clear of leaves and other debris and have your roof checked for missing slates. Make sure your tenants know where the water stop valve is (and that they can turn it off) – this is useful in the event of a flood.
Make sure they know where the fuse box is and that they know how to turn off the gas. Tell them to keep a note of the number 0800 111 999 – they should call this if they smell a gas escape. Ask friends for names and phone numbers of good plumbers, heating engineers and other tradespeople. Have some portable electric fan heaters you can use to give your tenants to keep them warm if the heating conks out and no one can come out and fix it promptly.
Getting the Work Done
Only use properly qualified tradesmen who are member of a national body of association. Check what membership of the body gives you and check they really are members by asking for ID for example, all gas engineers should be listed on http://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/(the new name for Corgi)
Decent plumbers and some heating engineers should be in http://www.ciphe.org.uk/(which also has a list of plumber and heating engineers who are available over the Christmas period) or the Association of Plumbing and Heating Engineers. Some white good suppliers are closed for only one day at Christmas.