Heatwaves and Vacant Property

It’s not just a big freeze in winter, seriously hot weather in summer can also cause a multitude of problems to vacant property, if it’s not being checked regularly and properly.

Frozen pipes burst in winter because the water inside them expands, causing the metal to rupture. But when the pipes themselves get very hot in scorching summer temperatures, the metal expands, warps and then fractures. Same problem, just a different cause.

Similarly, flat roofs are particularly at risk in hot sunshine. Once they heat up, the material can deteriorate and dry, crack or warp, which can allow water to penetrate into the roof when it rains again seriously in the autumn and winter, causing leaks into the rooms below. A real and costly problem to remedy.

Subsidence is also a problem caused by heatwaves – often triggered by the loss of moisture in the ground around a property when the soil, especially clay soil, dries out, shrinks or shifts. Checks should always be made to ascertain the cause of any cracks that appear in the walls or brickwork of a property.

And then we come to pests. All sorts thrive in hot weather. Not only vermin and insects, weeds survive and enjoy the summer heat, so beware invasive species such as Japanese Knotweed; it especially likes hot summers and can do untold damage to a building if not spotted early and dealt with. And human pests always seem to be at their worst in the summer months too – insurance claims for criminal or malicious damage always peak at this time of year, and if there has been flytipping on the property, this is an obvious fire risk, both intentional and unintentional.

Which brings us to the sun itself. Strong sunlight has been known to reflect off of a window or even pieces of glass, and set something on fire inside the building or perhaps litter outside. Don’t take it from us, just ask the London Fire Brigade, and ensure your fire precautions and extinguishers are working properly.

So there, in a brief nutshell, is a summary of what problems can and do occur if a vacant property isn’t monitored closely in very hot weather, such as we’ve experienced this summer. Even if we are now in September, and it’s started to rain again, it still unbelievably warm on sunny days.

That is why having guardians in situ, in your empty property, is the best way to both secure it from the elements and as well as problems from criminals or anti-social behaviour. Our professional staff monitor the buildings in our care very thoroughly and regularly, and having guardians there means more pairs of eyes and ears. We are, and always have been, a safe pair of hands.

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