As winter approaches, the cold, frosty mornings, harsh winds, rain, sleet and snow, you name it, will certainly take its toll on your property.
But it’s not just frozen pipes that can cause mayhem during the short days and cold nights. Take a look at these preventative steps to make sure your home is fighting fit, so you can enjoy warm evenings, cosied up at home.
Frozen pipes are one of the main causes of claims during the winter months. Keeping the heating ticking reduces the risk of frozen pipes and the damage that these can cause. In general, maintaining a minimum of 13 degrees Celsius will prevent pipes from freezing, however given how cold it can get, we’re sure you will want this higher.
In addition to maintaining a minimum temperature, you can also protect your pipes by checking whether there are dripping taps and fixing those. Insulating your pipework and water tanks, for example, by putting lagging around the outside pipes will help minimise the risk of freezing.
Gutters and drainpipes
Clear them regularly to try and reduce the risk of water ingress and pipes collapsing with the water or icy conditions.
When you fit draught proofing around your windows and doors, you help seal out any unwanted draughts that could cool your home down.
Bleed your radiators
It’s a good idea to get into the habit of bleeding your radiators every once in a while, as this will release any trapped air. When air builds up in a radiator, it makes it less efficient, meaning you’ll need more energy to keep your home warm.
You can contact your local professional or do it yourself. If you choose to bleed your radiators yourself, remember to place a towel under or around the valve and against the wall to ensure you don’t end up with a mess sprayed across your floors and wall. This can happen, when you open the valve and pressure is released, causing water to spray out. Once you think you’ve released all the air and have tightened the valve again, check to ensure that the pressure on your boiler hasn’t dropped.
Speaking of boilers, make sure you keep up with its maintenance schedule. It’s easy to ignore your boiler whilst it’s working, but having it serviced by a suitably qualified person will help keep it in good condition and reduce the chance of it breaking down in these critical winter months.
It’s good practice to have your boiler serviced every 12 months and have it done by a qualified gas engineer.
Insulate, insulate, insulate
Insulating your home will go a long way in keeping you warm throughout the colder months. This may not be appropriate for all types of homes, but may be worth looking into if you’re a homeowner and are keen to save some energy. Read more about this here, in our guide to having a more energy-efficient property
Keep your chimney clear
If your property has a chimney that’s still in use, and you’re allowed to use it, hire a chimney sweep to remove soot, birds nests and blockages before use. In this way, you keep your property safe and can prevent any potential fires.
Fences and gates
Secure any fences and gates that might have blown over. A lot of insurance providers don’t cover for fences and gates due to storms, so it’s worth checking your policy. Looking after them well and checking them every so often will help keep them in place for years to come.
Taking a few simple steps now could save you a lot of upheaval at a later date, so help your future self out now. You’ll thank us in the long run.
Last, but certainly, not least, check your insurance cover and make sure it’s up-to-date and provides you with the cover you and your property needs. As part of Countrywide, one of the UK’s property service networks, we can offer our customers access to Countrywide Home Insurance, who can help you with all your insurance needs and offer a range of cover options to protect your home and contents. Countrywide Home Insurance is underwritten by AXA Insurance UK plc. To obtain a quote, contact our Countrywide Insurance Services team.