Temperatures are starting to plummet, and the hazards of winter will soon be upon us. Whilst a winter snowstorm may produce beautiful pictures for Instagram; the incoming cold weather could cause havoc to your property. Taking steps to prepare your home for winter, and keeping your property well maintained, could reduce the risk of damage occurring.
Aspray has put together this list of handy tips to help prepare your home for the winter season.
Clear Gutters and Drains
Throughout the year, debris can build up in your property’s gutters and drains and, when the bad weather hits, the increased volume of rain and snow could start to cause problems. Clogged gutters can cause water to leak into your home or cause issues with damp when heavy rainfall or snowstorms occur.
Working at height to clean gutters can be a scary situation so be sure to follow any safety steps to reduce the risk of injury. Alternatively, consider hiring a professional who will have all the tools needed to safely clean gutters at height.
Service your Boiler
Ensuring your boiler is regularly serviced could help to reduce the possibility of it breaking down, something that is worrisome at the best of times but even more so when temperatures are below zero.
When the bad weather hits, you may find it harder to arrange a service as engineers spend more time dealing with emergencies; it may be beneficial to arrange your annual service early or even during the summer months.
Frozen pipes are one of the main causes of escape of water insurance claims throughout the winter period. Where possible, ensuring pipes are insulated during winter could reduce the chances of suffering damage. It is also a good idea to keep your heating on continuously, or on a daily timer, throughout cold spells as this will reduce the risk of water freezing inside the pipes.
Bleed your Radiators
From time to time air becomes trapped inside your radiators, which stops the heat from circulating correctly. This could lead to your home taking longer to heat and in turn cause higher energy bills.
Bleeding your radiators can be a messy job, so make sure you have an old cloth ready to catch any escaping liquid.
Window and Doors
For most, energy bills increase over the winter months and one of the causes of this is drafts coming into the house via windows and doors. Adding insulation around your home can be a cost-effective way of keeping your home warmer throughout the cold weather.
From weather strips to re-caulking, there are numerous options for providing extra sealing around your home. However, if you prefer a less permanent option, consider thermal curtains or a decorative draft excluder which may provide some protection.
Inspect and Trim Tree Branches
Inspect any trees surrounding your property and trim any large or overhanging branches. This can reduce the build-up of leaves which can affect guttering and drains. Cutting down large branches can also reduce the risk of damage caused by branches breaking during a storm or due to heavy snowfall.
Clean and Maintain Wood Burning Fires and Chimneys
One of the nicest aspects of winter is firing up the wood burner ready for a cosy evening, but it is important to ensure that your fireplace is well maintained, especially if it is used often. This includes hiring a professional chimney sweep to clean and inspect your chimney.
Keeping on top of cleaning your wood burner will likely keep your fireplace performing at its best. There is no set timeframe in which to clean your fireplace as this depends on various factors, such as the amount of use or fuel used. Taking the time to learn how to maintain your wood burner correctly could not only expand the lifetime of your burner but also reduce the risk of something going wrong.
Check your Fire and Carbon Monoxide alarm
Whilst you prepare your home for winter, it is also a good time to check your fire and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure they are in working order.
Why is it important to prepare your home for winter?
Over the past ten years, the UK has seen some adverse weather throughout the winter months, especially severe snowstorms, and flash flooding.
Climate change is said to be the cause of the UK becoming wetter, producing on average a 6% increase in rainfall over the last 30 years (1991 – 2020) compared to the 30 years previous (1961-1990). February 2020 became the ‘wettest February on record’ as the UK battled Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis within one week of each other.
With weather conditions worsening, it is more important than ever to prepare your home for winter as best you can to reduce the risk of damage and stay safe, leaving you to enjoy the nice, cosy, aspects of the season.
Prepare for Emergencies
Should an emergency situation arise, knowing you’re prepared as best you can be can really take a weight of your mind at a time when there may be lots to deal with. A few things to consider when making preparations are:
- Stocking up on torches and batteries in case of a power outage.
- Keeping a well-stocked first-aid kit.
- Finding out where your stopcock is located and how to switch it off in case of a water leak.
- Keeping a few sealed bottles of water in the house.
- Being weather aware and keeping up to date with any potential warnings in your area.
- Keeping your insurance and emergency contact details in a safe, accessible place.
Keep Aspray’s Contact Details in a Handy Place
Should you be unfortunate enough to suffer damage to your property throughout the winter period, whether this is weather-related or not, Aspray is on hand to help manage your building’s insurance claim.
Keeping Aspray’s contact details in a safe place (or saving their telephone number, 0800 077 6705, into your phone) means you can reach our 24-hour helpline whenever you need us.