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Autumn maintenance checklist

Autumn is the ideal time to do those essential DIY jobs that’ll protect your garden and home through the winter. Tick off these 7 key tasks now to help prevent problems later.

Wickes Drain & Gutter Cleaning Kit

1. Clear gutters and downpipes

Leaves and other debris collect quickly in gutters and drainpipes. If not cleared before winter, they can cause drainage problems and interior damp patches. After clearing, run water down the gutter to ensure it’s flowing properly.

Wickes Drain & Gutter Cleaning Kit
Wickes Gutter Leaf Guard

If deciduous trees are depositing leaves in your gutters, it might be worth investing in some inexpensive gutter guards. They catch debris which will then either get blown away or degrade and fall between the small gaps to get washed away with rainfall.

Wickes Gutter Leaf Guard
Wickes Galvanised Garden Incinerator

If you end with a lot of garden debris, a garden incinerator is an easy and effective way to dispose of garden debris and other waste. This handy galvanised steel incinerator has a chimney and 18 vent holes for faster burning.

Wickes Galvanised Garden Incinerator

For more information, see our guide to maintaining roofs & guttering.


2. Check external lighting

Prepare for the longer, darker winter hours by giving your external fuses and bulbs the once-over. We have a wide range of bulbs and exterior lighting if any of your existing ones need replacing.

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Pipe Lagging

3. Lag your pipes

Freezing temperatures can lead to burst pipes so it’s well worth checking that your attic and outdoor pipes are properly lagged before the temperature really drops. Don’t forget that garden taps and pipes need lagging too.

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Find your stopcock

4. Find your stopcock

If despite your best efforts you suffer a burst pipe, you’ll need to know how to turn your mains water supply off. This is done with the stopcock. It’s often located under the kitchen sink but the locations vary so take a little time now to find yours.

Wickes Bark Chippings

5. Mulch where you can

Mulch is a layer of protective material such as bark chips, compost, well-rotted manure (from a garden centre), eggshells or even the kind of leaf mould you might have retrieved from your gutters. Mulching has many benefits, including providing nutrients when the sun is in short supply, locking moisture into the soil, suppressing weeds and insulating roots from winter temperatures. The most important areas to mulch are newly planted trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials and flowerbeds. After you’ve weeded and watered the earth, spread a 2 inch layer leaving a small gap around plant stems.

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Unlike other methods, bark chippings look good enough to be decorative. They’re versatile and safe to use on both flowerbeds and children's play areas.


6. Check your ventilation

When we shut up our houses against the cold in the autumn we also shut down the movement of air. This can create condensation and damp patches on walls, especially in older houses with solid walls which don’t breathe as well. It’s a good idea to check whether your extractor fans are working properly or consider installing some if you don’t have any. Similarly, check whether any airbricks are blocked and clear them out if so.

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7. Inspect your chimney

It’s good to get into the habit of checking key elements of your house every year and it’s convenient to do it all at the same time. If you have a working chimney with a gas or log fire, don’t forget to have it checked before winter arrives. Blockages such as birds’ nests can become fire hazards and even cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Needless to say, an annual boiler check is also essential. Both jobs are for professionals only.