Dear Homeowners and Residents
Winter is on its way, and it is time to get your home ready for the cold and the rainy season! In this newsletter we wish to offer a few practical hints and tips that might help you to do so.
Channelling of stormwater
The general rule in our law is that lower-lying properties are obliged to accept stormwater from higher-lying properties. It is important to note that owners of the higher lying properties must at all time ensure that the stormwater from their properties is channelled via the correct stormwater systems.
Downpipes that channel rainwater from the roof of the house should be directed towards the street so that this water is fed into the municipal stormwater drainage system via inlets in the kerbs on the street. Under no circumstances should rainwater on any property be channelled into the municipal sewer system which, in fact, is separate from the stormwater system. Channelling rainwater into the sewer system is against municipal regulations. Doing so may lead to a number of knock-on effects, amongst others, overflowing of sewer pipes being filled beyond capacity which will result in sewage spills along the line or at sewage pump stations, flooding of wastewater treatment works and reduction of their treatment capacity and – ultimately – increased risk to human, animal and ecological health.
Once the rain season has started, please also be on the lookout for stormwater inlets along the streets that could be blocked, and which might lead to flooding in the area. Please report such instances to estate management without delay so that we can arrange for the blockages to be cleared.
Home maintenance tips
Your home is one of the biggest investments you will ever make. Here is a list (not comprehensive at all) of cost-saving DIY maintenance tips to help you protect your property against the elements during the harsh winter months.
• Check the roof
Start at the top and check for places where leaks could occur. This could be bent or damaged corrugated iron sheets, loose or missing roofing screws or roofing screw washers, even roofing screws inserted incorrectly in the trough and not in the crest of a corrugated iron sheet. Also be on the lookout for signs of blistering or bubbles which could be an indication of rust that is forming. Furthermore, check waterproofing membranes and materials for possible cracks or areas where it might start to lift. For the few houses on the estate with roof tiles, inspect for damaged, loose or missing tiles.
• Clear the gutters
Clear out gutters, drainpipes and outdoor drains from sand, leaves, roots or plants that might be blocking them. Cut back branches from trees that could cause damage to the roof or gutters during heavy rains or a storm.
• Repaint the walls
Seal any cracks in the outside walls, prepare the wall surfaces suitably, and cover the walls with a fresh layer of paint. Not only will this make your home look good, but it will especially help prevent ingress of water into the walls, which could lead to damp-related problems inside the house. So, don the dungarees and get the ladders, brushes and the paint. It’s time to get going!
• Clean the chimney
Before lighting a fire in the fireplace, make sure that the chimney is clean from soot that might have accumulated over time and, especially, from birds’ nests that could have been built inside the chimney. A crackling fire is cosy, but only if the fireplace is not belching out smoke into your house.
• Seal the gaps
A well-insulated home keeps draughts out, heat in, and energy costs down (something which is close to every South African’s heart). Replace broken or cracked windowpanes, apply new putty where needed, and use suitable sealing strips to ensure that windows and doors seal properly in their frames.
Please add to the above what you think is necessary to prepare your house for winter. But, it might be wise to start sooner rather than later. Winter is around the corner!
24 March 2021