How to Prepare Your Home for the Winter

With cold weather comes a host of potential problems in the home, so it’s important to be prepared.

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It’s not just a question of coping with the cold. Winter weather also brings an increased risk of floods, fires, and theft.

Here’s how to prepare your home for the winter:

Start Outside

Winter in the UK can bring strong winds, heavy rain, and snow, and all of these can cause extensive damage to homes. But there are certain measures you can take to reduce the chances of any lasting damage.

Replace any loose tiles on your roof to prevent rain and snow leaks, and to stop them from flying off in storms. If you have any trees on your property, address any loose or overhanging branches that could prove problematic during storms. Finally, give your gutters a clean to prevent blockages, overflow, and freezing.

These are the sort of tasks that really have to be done before winter truly descends, and the lower temperatures and shorter days make it difficult to do any major work outside.

Protect Your Pipes

Cold weather can cause the water in your pipes to freeze, and when they freeze, they can expand and crack. This is a problem in itself, but your real troubles start when this water thaws, as it can pour through the cracks in the pipes. Suddenly, your home is vulnerable to flooding, water damage, and other potential catastrophes.

There are many things you can do to prevent your pipes from freezing. First, get them insulated, not neglecting the ones in your loft. Next, fix any dripping taps, as the unchecked dripping water is particularly liable to freeze in the drainpipe.

Know How to Act in the Event of a Flood

Should a flood break out during the winter, your first step should be to cut off your water supply. To do this you’ll have to locate your stopcock.

Do you know where your home’s stopcock is? Do you know if it’s working properly? It’s better to familiarise yourself with the situation now, rather than face a blind panic in an emergency.

Take Care If You’re Travelling

Whether it’s through taking an off-season holiday or through visiting friends and relatives during the festive period, many people leave their homes unattended through the winter. This unfortunately means that any problems that do arise are left unattended and are thus allowed to escalate.

If you’re going away during the winter period, don’t turn your heating off. Doing so will cause the temperature in your house to fall significantly, which will increase the risk of your pipes freezing. Don’t worry – you don’t have to leave your heating on full blast and round the clock for the duration of your trip. You just need to keep the chill at bay.

Put it on a timer, set to come on for a few hours a day, every day. 12-15°C should be warm enough to stop things from getting too cold, but not so warm that you’ll face a hefty heating bill when you return.

Timers can also help to reduce the risk of burglaries when you’re away. Setting your lights to come on at a few key points throughout the day can create the impression that your home is still occupied, which can act as a strong deterrent to any would-be burglars.

But in any case, if you’re going to be spending any time away, ask around your friends and family to see if anyone’s able to periodically check on your house. That way, should an emergency arise while you’re away, at least you won’t have to deal with everything at once when you get home.

You’ll find a complete guide to staying safe while travelling in our resources section.

Know Where to Turn Should the Unthinkable Happen

Though it’s best to be prepared, there’s only so much you can do to safeguard your home. The unexpected can still occur – but this is why home insurance exists!

Nonetheless, should you have to make a claim on your home insurance this winter – for whatever reason – it’s best to have someone on your side to help you secure the settlement you deserve.

Click here to find out how a Harris Balcombe loss assessor can set you on the road to recovery.

Call our 24/7 helpline on 0330 022 9179 for a free no obligations assessment

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