Your conservatory needs tender loving care if it’s to function efficiently. If it hasn’t been regularly serviced, a number of maintenance issues can quickly arise. But don’t panic! There are ways to deal with them to restore the room to its former glory; here’s how:
Misted up or broken glass panels
Glass panels can become misted up or broken due to age, but they can easily be replaced by the original supplier. However, take care not to just treat the symptoms without investigating the cause: an unseen problem could be at the root. Standing water can break down the seals over time so check that the drainage slots are not blocked and preventing water from flowing out of the plastic frame. Also, check that the end-caps on the outermost point of the rafter sections of the roof are completely clean. If there’s a build-up of dirt, the end-caps can become loose and fall off, allowing panels (especially polycarbonate ones) to move and cause leaks.
Too cold or hot inside the conservatory
The glass in modern conservatories is specifically designed to manage heat transfer between the inside and outside of the structure. However, it can only perform at this high level if the glass is kept sparkling clean at all times; employ a specialist conservatory valet expert to clean all the glass, including the roof and other hard to reach areas. If your conservatory is getting too hot or too cold because of the orientation of your house, consider a blind system for shade and also insulation.
Loose or stiff hinges, handles or lock mechanisms
If your hinges are too loose or too stiff, you can often adjust them simply by using a small screwdriver. It’s important not to force the lock mechanism on your conservatory; if you find it seizes, a locksmith will be able to sort out the problem for you. Regular lubrication of the hinges, handles and lock mechanisms should help ensure that they operate smoothly. If you do have a broken hinge, handle or lock mechanism, they can usually be replaced by your original conservatory supplier.
Mouldy or discoloured sealant
Mould is a fact of life in conservatories because of the combination of moisture in the air and the cold glass and plastic surfaces. You can wipe off surface mould as soon as you see it, but discolouration caused by ingrained dirt or tobacco staining can’t be so easily removed. The good news is that it’s a relatively simple and inexpensive DIY job to peel off the old sealant and re-apply it with new silicone sealant using a sealant gun from your local DIY store.
Algae, nicotine, dirt or mould build-up or staining of the frame
If dirt, mould, nicotine and algae have built up over time, you’ll probably need to use a specialist cleaning fluid to draw the dirt out. In some cases, the plastic may have taken on a grey tinge because of the lead-based whitening used on some conservatories, especially older ones. While this can’t be removed, cleaning and polishing with a wax-based polish may help to slow the process.
Dirty glass which won’t clean back to ‘good-as-new’
Although the glass surfaces of your conservatory may appear to be flat, in fact, they are full of impurities such as grooves, holes and pits. Over time, dirt particles will naturally gather in these impurities causing the glass to lose its original clarity and sheen, and making it more difficult to clean. If this sounds familiar, employ a specialist to strip the dirt out [link]. Some companies can even chemically treat the surface to prevent dirt from adhering to it.
Dirty polycarbonate roof panels
Older style conservatories have roof panels made of polycarbonate which can mist up and gather dirt very quickly. In some cases, the panels were originally installed incorrectly with the inside facing outwards. These wrongly laid panels can be sun damaged easily; although they can be cleaned, it’s unlikely their original lustre will be re-gained. However, when laid correctly, the cloudiness and dirt can often be removed and the clarity can be brought very close to its original level. Seek out a specialist company to help you with this.
The easiest way to combat overflowing guttering is to clean them out thoroughly, making sure you can see right into the gutters as you do so. It’s vital to remove all the debris, especially under the edge of the roof panels, and any build-up of silt and mud along the bottom of the gutter (this will affect the flow of water and also attract more dirt). Check the downpipe area too where leaves can build up and the drain can become blocked by other debris – even garden toys such as tennis balls!
Prevention is better than cure
In order to prevent these common maintenance problems from recurring, make sure you book an in-depth ‘major’ conservatory care service every two or three years with a conservatory valet expert. Your conservatory will thank you for it!