I spoke to our Maintenance coordinator Karen Jardine to get the top tips for maintenance and what to look out for-

Emily- What would you say is the most important thing to keep on top of during the winter months?

Karen- As you know, we have had a very cold March causing pipes to freeze in the icy conditions, one way to avoid this happening is to keep your heating ticking over constantly this can also be more effective, and less expensive than switching it on and off for short bursts of heat. .

Emily- Is Condensation a big problem within your maintenance enquiries?

Karen- Yes. Condensation can cause a lot of problems. During the winter months when it is cold I understand the reluctance to keep the windows open, however it is very important to keep your property aired and ventilated, especially in bathrooms and kitchen where condensation can cause a problem from stream, for this reason it is important to use your extractor fan when bathing and cooking. We have all been guilty of drying our washing on the radiators this can cause airborne moisture being trapped in the house which condenses on cold surfaces such as windows and cold walls, where it causes paint to blister and wall paper to lift, causing black spot mould. It is important that any sign of mould must be reported to your landlord or agency if you are renting a property, as it can quickly get our of control if not dealt with. Furniture should be moved away from touching walls. Washing the area with a solution of diluted water and bleach or soapy water can help remove black spot mould.

Emily- Do you have any top tips?

Karen- Always check fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms if you get in the habit of doing this on the same day i.e. the 1st of the month you will be less likely to forget. Also, I would recommend using Energy Saving Lightbulbs, which are cost effective and of course, they are better for the environment.

Emily- Thank you for the advice and top tips!

Karen- Your very welcome.

These are also things to keep an eye on within your home to keep it well maintained.

Guttering is something which most of us would not even think about within our everyday life. But it’s important that we maintain it and look after our guttering.

After the cold and windy weather, we have recently had it would be a good idea to have your guttering checked to make sure it is not blocked up with leaves and moss and is free from any damage.  Gutters help collect rainwater within them, which then gets taken down the down pipes, and away from your home.
It is also a good idea to check the drainage from your downpipes, making sure the drain in also not block with leaves and debris. This will help protect your foundations and stops any flooding  occurring around your property.

It’s very easy for your gutters to become blocked. This can be from debris such as leaves, or moss or in some unfortunate cases, dead animals. This can cause gutters to block. The best way to see if your gutters are blocked is stepping outside when it’s raining and if the rain water is overflowing or dripping over the sides of the guttering indicating that most likely there is a blockage in your guttering.
This can cause some dampness within the property as well as flooding. So, it’s very important to get this blockage fixed. The best thing to do is to get the professionals out. Who will unblock your drains and stop anymore issues from rising.
So, guttering is a very important feature on your home that you need to maintain and look after. How about you go outside now and take a look at those gutters? See if yours look as healthy as they could be... At Red Squirrel Property Shop Ltd we can arrange to come out and inspect your guttering for you.


This is most likely something which wouldn't affect you, or something you wouldn't have even thought about. But, we believe it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Legionella is a waterborne bacterium which forms within stagnant water. It can cause three potentially fatal diseases which are collectively known as legionella’s. You can get this from breathing in mist or vapour that has been contaminated with the bacteria.
If you have a shower head above your bath which you hardly ever use but decide to use it one day this could be contaminated as stagnant water could have been trapped within the shower head. Therefore, this could contaminate you.
Likewise, in your boiler room, if your cold and hot pipes run next to one another this could be a way in which legionella could be formed. The cold pipe could cool the hot pipe creating stagnant water within the pipes.
So, to ensure you do not fall victim to this awful disease you need to have checks every 2 years. Red Squirrel Property Shop can do a legionella risk assessment for you, at the price of £75 plus VAT.
There are also some checks you can do yourself at home-
-Good practice in this situation is simply to run the taps (a very unlikely source anyway) with hot water for minimum 60 seconds, and more importantly flush the shower head with warm water for minimum 60 seconds after a period of non-use (to do this , remove from holder before switching on the shower, then hold down over drain to lessen risk of inhaling sprayed droplets).
-Similarly, flush, the toilet twice to circulate fresh water through the system and empty the cistern. Shower spray heads also present a small risk in domestic properties and should be cleaned of scale and debris every 3-6 months.
Doing these simple tests regularly will reduce the risk of legionella within your home.


I'm sure everyone has been faced with the issues of condensation. But it’s very important to manage this to reduce any issues within your home. Condensation can cause mould to appear on your walls, water streaks on your walls and patches of damp with no obvious edges.
This can look very distasteful within your property and is extremely annoying so it’s very important to manage this. You can do simple things within your home to reduce or stop the accumulation of condensation.
Firstly, you could ensure that you have an extractor fan in your bathroom / shower room. A good test to ensure yours is working well is putting a piece of paper to the fan and it should stay there (from the air being sucked up). This is a good indication that your fan is working correctly. 
The ventilation of the fan will remove excess moisture from the air reducing your risk of the build-up of condensation.
It’s a good idea to have a regular air flow within your home. For example, after or during your shower/bath, open a window slightly, if you do not have an extractor fan fitted, this will allow all the moisture in the air to escape and fresh air to be able to get into the room.
Likewise, it's good to keep your bedroom window slightly open. Not only does this improve your sleep but it allows fresh air to circulate your room and reduce condensation to occur.
Within your kitchen, it’s good to install a ventilation fan above your hob, or by opening the window slightly whilst cooking on your hob as this will again ventilate the moisture in the air, reducing the likelihood of condensation appearing.
These are simple and easy steps to take, to decrease your risk of mould and dampness within your home.

Some of us love getting our hands dirty and getting out into our garden and making it look beautiful and fantastic. On the other hand, some of us hate doing this. It’s not the therapeutic task it’s made out to be. However, to keep your home well maintained and looking its best it’s a vital part.
The humble garden fence can serve a variety of purposes, either as the boundary between one property and the next, a division from one garden area to another or as a screen to hide away a compost pile or the wheelie bins. No matter what the reason, garden fence panels don’t need to be the plain, boring objects that we tend to think of.
Anything that protects the timber, and ultimately the integrity and life of the fence is going to protect your investment. To ensure that fence panels and posts stay in tip top condition for longer, we recommend using a quality garden fence treatment.

There is nothing worse than an over grown garden, with withering plants and bushes. It’s so much better to have a blooming garden full of colour and order. It’s also very good to keep on top of your gardening. If you were to ever sell your home for example, having a well-maintained garden will mean your garden will be off the "to do list" for getting your property ready to sell.
Not only that, when the summer months arrive it’s nice to invite friends and family round and sit in a beautiful garden. Simple things to remember is to not over crowd your garden, make it look sophisticated and beautiful, not messy. Buy fully composted yard waste for best results, tidy your garden in the winter so the ground stays healthy and fertile. And finally, ensure to monitor the health of your plants in your garden. Make sure they look healthy and full of life.
After a while, these simple changes should become routine and your end up with a hassle free and beautiful garden for all to enjoy.

These are simple, yet important things to remember for maintaining your property. They are important for the foundations of your home, the safety of your home, the cleanliness of your home and the vanity of your home.
If you would like any more information on Legionella’s please feel free to call us at Red Squirrel Property Shop on 0198 521212.

Tel: 01983 521212
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Emily Gibson