Storms often hit in October and November and with the recent press about the potential threat of a new Beast from the East bringing one of the coldest winters in 30 years, now is the ideal time to be getting your property ready to face the wear and tear of the colder months.
General maintenance, such as clearing out the gutters once a year and having the boiler serviced, is crucial if you’re to avoid eventually dealing with a home-related crisis which could, at the most extreme, even cause danger to life.
There are a key number of tasks it’s important to do every year, or at least when possible, and right now there’s no time to lose:
- Roof – Take a good look at the roof. If you can see any missing, loose or cracked tiles, it’s a good idea to get them fixed before strong winds and storms potentially hit.
- Guttering and downpipes – The guttering might look clear from below but debris could have built up causing blockages, which could cause some serious damp issues if left. Also make sure support brackets are securely fixed to make sure the guttering survives winter.
- Doors and windows – Check windows and doors to see if any are loose or damaged, which could let in water and cold air. Unsecured windows and doors can not only be a security risk, but also make your heating less efficient.
- Central heating systems – test your heating by turning it on, bleed radiators and the pressure of your heating system to make sure it’s ready when you are. Our advice would be to book a heating engineer to service the boiler.
- Plumbing – Go around checking all the pipes that you can, especially in exposed areas. Look for leaks at joins and drips from external taps. A key tip is also to insulate pipes before winter sets in, this helps to reduce the danger of pipes freezing, meaning that a constant flow of water will always be available. If the pipes do freeze there is a high risk that one will have a leak once they have thawed.
- Chimneys and fireplaces – If you’ve got a wood burner, hard-fuel stove, or simply use a fireplace now and again in the winter months, get your flus and chimneys checked and cleaned – it’s best to do this annually if you can.
- Trees, gates and fencing – Trim off any tree limbs that are dangerously close to power lines and your house. Any fencing or gates that are loose should be fixed as they can blow around in high winds potentially damaging windows or even people. It will also help with security during shorter days.
- External structure – Take a good look at external walls and render for cracks and crumbling or missing brickwork mortar, all of which can let in water. If any are apparent, they might be easily fixable with the right filler, but anything serious-looking you should get a builder in.
- Shutting a home down in emergencies – It’s amazing how many people couldn’t tell you where their home’s stopcock is so that they can switch off the water supply in an emergency! Make sure you know where yours is, as well as how to shut down your electrics and gas supply – it’s usually by simply flicking off the mains switch on the circuit board or twisting a lever to ‘off’ by the gas meter.
- Emergency kit – Power cuts, flooding, storm damage; any one can mean you need additional light, heat and power supplies. Get together an emergency kit with torches, batteries, a radio, candles, matches, a shovel, energy bars and water.
- Check your home’s insured correctly – This should be a high priority as having the right home insurance not only means you should be able to claim in many different circumstances for weather and other damage, an insurer can also be a source of help – depending on your level of cover – with emergency helplines and fast assistance and advice.
Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, so we have a team of experts with a real passion for making sure people get the cover that’s right for them. For more information, you can call our experts on 0330 0600 600 or visit www.policyexpert.co.uk/contact for more ways to reach us.
Published 16th September