10 tips to get your Cotswold holiday rental ready for winter guests
Preparing a Cotswold holiday rental property for the long winter months ahead – and the inevitable rain, snow and wind – means checking and repairing inside and out.
Here are Bolthole Retreats’ top 10 tips to help you prepare your Cotswold holiday rental for the winter:
- Keep the cold and bugs out
Take some time to thoroughly check the outside of your holiday home for small gaps and holes that cold air can get through. Use caulking to seal them up. Just like you, bugs and beasties will want to snuggle up inside, so cover exterior vents with a hard-wearing gauze or net that allows air to flow but stops the unwanted bugs in their tracks.
- Clean out the chimney
A dirty chimney isn’t just a cosmetic problem, it’s also a fire risk. A build-up of soot in the chimney is the perfect place to start a chimney fire and it could affect your insurance if it’s found to be full of soot by fire investigators – worse case scenario but better to be forewarned.
- Repair and clean the gutters
Wait for the last leaves of any over-hanging trees to drop and then get to work, but only do this yourself if you feel steady up a ladder! A build-up of leaves and debris will prevent rainwater from flowing along the gutters and down the pipes to the drain. Instead it could overflow and ultimately get into your roofing, patio or even basement.
- Check the roof tiles
If you live in a windy area it’s always a good idea to have your roof checked for loose roof tiles. Firstly, you don’t want one to fall off and hit a guest, and secondly, you don’t want water coming in through your roof damaging furniture and paintwork.
- Spruce up the garden furniture
If a big attraction of your garden is being able to sit out and enjoy it, including on the occasional sunny winter day, now is the time to clean chairs and tables and purchase a cover for them so that you don’t have to clean them after each rain or wind storm.
- Clean and repair the deck/patio
Now is also a good time to do any repairs to wooden decks and patios and then re-stain and re-seal to protect against frost and water. At the very least, clean it up after all the leaves have fallen as leaf mould can damage wood as it decays and make patios slippery and dangerous.
- Check the drive and paths
If any cracks in the driveway or paths have appeared over the summer, it’s a good idea to get them sealed up before the really cold weather arrives. A crack will fill up with water, which when it freezes will be forced to expand, quickly getting a lot bigger potentially creating a much bigger problem.
- Free heating
If you have ceiling fans – not many will in this country but perhaps with all this climate change it’s something to think about? To help warm up rooms without turning up the thermostat, reverse the direction of the rotation of your ceiling fan. The direction will depend on the pitch/tilt of the fan’s blades. In the summer, the blades should push the air down, cooling you as the air is forced down on you. In the winter, the blades should draw the warm air, that has already risen, further up and then push it out and down the side walls – not straight down on you as in the summer – creating a more even distribution of warm air. Experiment with your fan to see if the rotation should be clockwise or anti-clockwise for winter, it will depend on the pitch of the blades.
- Remove bug screens
Window and door screens keep out bugs during the summer but let in the cool air, so now is the right time to clean them and store ready for next year. It’s a nasty task but think how much easier it will be next summer when you get a well-cleaned screen out of its box!
- For over-stretched budgets
Need some new bit and pieces to prep the garden or house, but your budget is stretched? Then why not visit websites such as Free-cycle (an international non-profit movement of people who give and get stuff for free in their own towns) or your property’s local Facebook Marketplace…it’s amazing what other people don’t need any more and just want to get rid of.