Having a retreat from increasingly busy lives is an ambition held by most and realised by many in the Western world. If you own a holiday home, it’s important to keep it in good repair all year round, as ignoring potential issues can lead to some very costly repairs later on.
We have put this seasonal maintenance guide together to help you maintain and protect your holiday home throughout the year, so you can continue to enjoy your retreat for years to come.
Spring is the primary season for home maintenance and repairs – that’s why it’s called ‘spring cleaning’. Luckily, this also tends to be an off-season for holiday home lettings, so it is an ideal time to undertake more disruptive tasks like shampooing the carpets, washing curtains and deep cleaning upholstery.
It’s not just the interior of the house that should be focused on though; the exterior of your property has just been subjected to the trials of winter and needs to be prepared for the summer. The roof will need to be checked for damage and leaks, and you’ll probably have to clean out your gutters, which are likely to have become clogged with leaves and grit during the autumn and winter months.
While on the roof, make sure any aerials are secure and have withstood the winter winds. Also, if you have trees or plants growing near the property, spring is a good time to check the roots aren’t starting to invade the foundations or penetrate cracks in the wall.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the summer months are the best time to work on your lawn and garden, as well as finish up any works to the exterior of the property that aren’t going to affect your letting potential. Summer is also the primary month for insect infestations, so this is when you need to make sure there aren’t any ant or wasp nests nearby. If you have a patio or decking, take advantage of the nice weather to powerhose, repair and repaint, as required.
Air conditioning vents in the property should be cleaned out by a professional before they are used heavily, so accumulated dust and germs aren’t circulated throughout the house. Vents for tumble dryers and boilers around the home should also be checked and cleaned out, using professionals when appropriate.
Finally, clearing out your garage is best done over the summer, as things tend to build up over the rest of the year, making it difficult to clean. The garage also tends to be a common place to find insect nests, so having a good clear out every year can help to prevent surprise infestations.
When the leaves start to change to the rust and amber colours of autumn, that is your signal to prepare the property for the coming winter. If you don’t let out your property over the winter months, you should turn off your water at the mains, opening all taps and draining the water from the pipes. This will ensure they don’t freeze and crack when winter sets in. Note that you may need to use compressed air to remove all the water from the pipes.
Be sure to unplug all electrics and turn off the gas before draining the water heater. Any containers of water in the house, like flower vases, should be emptied so they don’t freeze. Thoroughly clean the kitchen, removing all perishable foodstuffs to prevent pests from entering the propery.
Lastly, cover any outdoor plants that are intolerant to frost and remove any plants from indoors, unless you have arranged for someone to care for them.
By the time winter sets in, the majority of upkeep should have already been carried out. Make absolutely certain that the pipes were drained properly in the autumn, and look out for icicles and ice dams, removing any that you find.
Winter is also the ideal season to review your holiday home insurance and make sure you are fully covered for weather damage, as well as other potential issues, like accidental damage arising from falling aerials or trees. Your policy should also cover any loss of rental income, especially if it is a primary source.
Unoccupied homes in winter face an increased risk of damage, so having the correct coverage in place is vital. That way you can tackle problems quickly and before they become exaggerated, without having to worry about the costs.
As we have discussed, keeping your holiday home well maintained all year round will help to ensure you aren’t surprised with costly repairs or prevented from letting your property. However, for complete peace of mind, you should always make sure you have the appropriate insurance cover in place.
If you need a holiday home insurance quote or would like to learn more about holiday home insurance in Ireland, feel free to contact one of our holiday home insurance specialists today or check out some of our other articles on holiday home insurance.