Comment: Oh snow! Home maintenance matters, whatever the weather

Snow and heavy rain can have costly consequences for homeowners

Snow and heavy rain can have costly consequences for homeowners - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A polar vortex was supposed to send ‘crippling blizzards’ and ‘a monster plume of brutally cold air’ our way more than a week ago, or so said the Daily Express.

All that hype, and barely a snowball’s worth arrived in the end. Total let down (doesn’t matter that we didn’t actually want epic snowfall, obviously).

Between lacklustre snowstorms and torrential downpours, winter’s traditionally a rubbish time of year to own your own home. Many of us remain braced for the worst of whatever the tabloids are promising this week, lurching from flood warnings to the latest in a long line of so-called big freezes.

After all, if the boiler’s going to conk out at any point, icy January’s got to be the worst time for it to happen, while incessant rain and chilly temperatures are bad news for damp problems and pipework.

We’ve got off fairly lightly so far this winter, with only a wet-looking wall to show for the inclement conditions. It’s not been this way every winter, however – one shivery Christmas saw the boiler packing up and an emergency plumber being called out. The panic over the massive bill remains a starker memory than that of my frozen toes.

While household maintenance hiccups are to be expected all year round, there’s never a good time for dipping into the savings for a new combi. What will you really have to show for the couple of grand you didn’t expect to spend (apart from a shiny new boiler, obviously. That and not being freezing...)?

When we bought our house five years ago, we knew there were going to be ongoing maintenance issues. The survey showed up damp around the fireplaces and wooden windows in need of urgent TLC. Naturally, we put those jobs on the backburner while we bought paint, curtains and cushions. Strangely, soft furnishings always seem to have the edge on dehumidifiers and damp proof courses.

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We did eventually spend some cash on the doomed windows a couple of years back, and they’re already looking in need of another revamp. Luckily, unlike the boiler catastrophe of 2005, the windows can wait.

All this talk of snow and rain doesn’t half make you want to get away from it all – I’ve already spent the emergency boiler fund on a week in the sun. Here’s hoping the next move from the polar vortex doesn’t leave me regretting my choice.