Five tips to prepare your home for winter

Is your home safe for Santa?

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Cold weather has hit the UK. The gritters are out, cars are being scraped in the morning and the central heating is on.

A lot of property problems occur when the temperature drops, including frozen pipes or burst pipes, so we thought a small guide to help prepare your home for winter would be beneficial.

Clear your paths

Did you know that you have a duty of care towards anyone coming onto your property? This means that if your paths are slippery and dangerous and the postie slips and injures him or herself it is your fault.

If there is a lot of snow on the ground it can often be better to leave a blanket of snow than to half clear the path. A thin layer can compress down and turn to a layer of ice but a blanket of snow is far less likely to be slippery. However the best option is to remove all of it!

If you have elderly neighbours who are having difficulty coping with the icy paths then it might be nice to offer to clear them for them.

Pro tip: If you don’t have access to grit then table salt can be extremely effective to help clear paths. 1 tablespoon can treat around 1 square metre.

Check gutters and pipes

During the autumn it is likely that leaves have blown into gutters and drain pipes. If the gutters become blocked and there is a heavy rain or snowfall the blocked gutters can cause the water to enter the roof space. You should clear your gutters so that the water can run freely into the drainpipes.

If there is a big freeze the weight of the ice can bring the gutters crashing down.

Pro tip: If you have an outside tap turn it off from the inside if possible to avoid a frozen or burst pipe.

Check doors and windows

Ensure that there aren’t any cracks around your doors and windows that can let cold air into your home. If you spot any crevice cracks or exposed entry points around pipes seal them. If water gets into these cracks and freezes it could potentially make the crack larger and cause further damage.

Pro tip: Filling in cracks and stopping draughts can help reduce your heating bill.

Tune up your boiler and central heating

Arrange for an engineer to come and take a look at your boiler and central heating. It will get used more throughout the colder months - this is why there are often more boiler breakdowns in the winter. The last thing you want is a broken boiler over Christmas with all the family at home!

An engineer will be able to ensure that everything is in working and optimal order.

Pro tip: Dust all the vents and clean all the filters for maximum benefits from your boiler without needing to pay for an engineer to come out.

Prepare your fireplace

If you have an open fireplace in your home you should call in a chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote. If there is a cold snap it isn’t unheard of for pipes to freeze or a boiler to fail. If this happens you will want a back up source of heat so we recommend that you stock up on firewood that can be stored somewhere dry.

A clear chimney will also encourage the smoke to escape up the chimney rather than out into your home.

Pro tip: Santa won’t go down a dirty chimney!

Talk to a property expert

If you require more help preparing your home for winter contact a property expert on 0800 65 22 678 or find your local branch.

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