Lots of us enjoy the scenes of snow-covered streets and frosty mornings but while wintry conditions may look great, they can be dangerous for the homes we live in. From frozen pipes to broken down boilers, there are plenty of ways these wintry conditions can cause havoc on our homes and day-to-day lives. With people spending more time at home, we’ve outlined a number of straightforward steps you can take to protect your home against the bad weather.
Service your boiler
There’s nothing worse than your boiler breaking down during a cold spell.
Try and book a heating engineer to service yours annually, preferably before the weather gets really cold. It’ll help head off any boiler malfunctions during the winter and could save you money in the long run.
Bleed your radiators
If a radiator is warm in places but cold in others when the heating’s on, there may be air trapped inside.
‘Bleeding’ your radiators with a radiator key – in other words, letting the air out – should deal with this problem, and reduce the strain on your boiler too.
Clear out gutters and drains
Clearing gutters of leaves, twigs and other debris is really important as it helps keep water running smoothly away from your home – though it’s preferable to wait until the trees have shed their leaves!
Blocked gutters can lead to overflowing water getting into areas you don’t want it to – such as roof spaces and cracks in the wall.
As with guttering, it’s sensible to make sure your drains are flowing freely so remove any debris from on and around your drain covers.
Lag your pipes
Exposed pipes in parts of the home, such as lofts and outbuildings, can freeze in the winter and burst, so, it’s a good idea to make sure they’re ‘lagged’.
Lagging is a fairly simple job involving wrapping insulating material around pipes. However, you may choose not to do this yourself so hiring a tradesperson could be helpful.
Check out our how-to video on lagging your pipes.
Don’t forget about the garden
Take a good look at your garden fences and gates – if posts or slats are loose then they’re more likely to get damaged in high winds.
Garden furniture and pots, as well as children’s playthings like swings and trampolines, should be secured or stored away.
Locate your gas and water supplies
It’s important to know how to turn off your water and gas supplies in case of an emergency.
Stopcocks are, essentially, large taps which turn on and off a home’s supply of water – but they’re often in hard-to-find places!
You’ll usually find a tap for turning off the gas by the gas meter.
Check your roof and walls
Inspect the outside of your home to try and spot any loose tiles on the roof, or cracks in walls.
Loose tiles can be lifted off by strong winds, leaving gaps for water to get in and any large cracks in walls should be filled as they can also let in water.