Property Maintenance: Winter Checks

Property Maintenance: Winter Checks

posted in: About life in Barcelona | 0

Barcelona is not Moscow or Stockholm, so the winters are not freezing here, but they are cold and the humidity level is very high. The average annual percentage of humidity in Barcelona is: 72.0%. It doesn’t rain so much in winter, so even when it is cooler the sun will still shine regularly. But also be prepared for overcast and rainy days.

How to prepare your home in Barcelona for winter?

Recommendations on Property Maintenance

Condensation is perhaps the most common form of damp that can appear in your home and can cause structural damage to your property including wallpaper to peel away, damp patches to appear on walls and a build up of moisture, which causes streaming windows. Left untreated condensation can lead to mould growth which can be potentially harmful and lead to serious health issues and breathing difficulties which is why it is important to reduce humidity levels in a property.

The reason condensation appears in your property is due to a lack of adequate ventilation which causes humidity levels to rise.

Bathroom doors should be kept closed at all times, and when the room is in use the window should be open or an extractor fan running. Kitchens should have a cooker hood – vented to the outside, rather than recirculating the air through a carbon filter – and should be switched on whenever the oven or hob is in use.

Heating and water installations

Hot water tanks:

  • Whether they are fuelled by gas, diesel, electrics, solar or anything else, hot water tanks should be checked by a qualified technician to ensure efficiency and safety.
  • The first time you fire up a gas boiler, there may be air in the system which can prevent the gas from getting through. You can try to purge this with the manual button/valve if the system has this, or call a plumber to help if you are unsure or this does not resolve the issue.
  • If you are located in a hard/high calcium content water area, this is going to have a noticeable impact on efficiency if the property does not have a water softener installed. Calcium build-up in hot water tanks leads to significant inefficiencies and the corrosive effects can cause electric elements and other parts to fail quicker, if they not cleaned regularly.
  • These should be checked and cleaned out by a qualified professional to ensure that these are maintained and kept in good working order and to avoid these failing when you need them to be fully operational.

Gas, diesel, oil etc boilers:

  • Carbon Monoxide is a killer. There should be absolutely no shortcuts whatsoever with these installations and these should all be checked by a qualified professional. A lot of the standard safety inspections will depend on your location and installation. For example a private gas tank at a property will normally come with annual inspections by the gas supplier as standard. However, it is important to check whether these inspections include checking the actual boiler, or just the tank. When were the installations last checked for gas leaks (with gas installations) and safety of exhaust fumes? Keep a copy of these certificates on file.
  • Install Carbon Monoxide alarms. This should be required by law but currently (in Spain) this is not and it was an incredible oversight that it was not included in the Short Term Rental License requirements. However, this is where we insist that the properties Owners agree to have these installed.
  • Any gas, oil or similar heaters should also be tested by a professional to ensure that they are working efficiently, there are no gas leaks and the exhaust fumes are safe.

Hot Water Radiators and Underfloor Heating:

  • These should all be fired up well in advance of any winter arrivals to make sure that these are all working properly in all rooms, including checking to see if there is any air in the system that needs purging. If you are in an area that suffers from hard water (without a water softener installed at the property), the valves that control the flow of hot water between rooms can sometimes seize up and get stuck with calcium when they are not used for a while. If you find that some rooms are not heating as they should, make sure that your plumber does not take advantage of what is often a simple fix.
  • A tip with underfloor heating on arrivals – Underfloor heating is a great way to heat a property, but it can take a very long time to heat up especially with stone or marble floors. One way to get around this is to switch it on several days before the arrival (to ensure that you have time to fix any faults) and once you are sure that this is working properly, lower the temperature switch down to keep this ticking over and prevent the floors from cooling back to cold again. If the actual floors are kept just warm enough, the cleaners can turn the thermostat up just as they leave so the property is warm for arrival. Or, you can leave the guest to do this when they arrive depending on the actual weather. This can help avoid lots of calls from guests complaining that the heating is not working because it can take many hours to feel the effects of underfloor heating.

Electric Radiators and Underfloor Heating:

  • Even though electric heating systems are not prone to the issues that can come with hot water systems as outlined above, these should still be switched on well in advance of the first winter arrival to ensure that they are working as they should and to allow for any time needed to fix any issues. A qualified person should always be called on to fix any issues or problems.

Kakdoma BCN provides Home Management Services and can care about your property like you would. Call us now +34 644 235 607 and get the best deal for you. Send your request to kakdoma@kakdomabcn.com.

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