Protect your property from the winter weather
Freezing temperatures can damage your home and be costly to repair, so follow these tips to be prepared
Over a third of the population is likely to be unprepared for worsening weather this winter, according to A-Plan Insurance.
The insurance specialists found that over 25% have dealt with power cuts, and 19% have experienced a broken boiler over the winter months. And, with January and February around the corner, your home could be vulnerable to winter weather.
But there are steps you can take now to protect your home and health from the winter elements.
Top tips for winter
Insurance business A-Plan has published its top tips on protecting your home this winter, to minimise the chances of needing to fork out for potential repairs.
Here’s what its experts said:
1. Service your boiler. December to January is the busiest time for boiler repair callouts according to British Gas, who are called out for around 45,000 visits in Christmas week alone.
2. Bleed radiators and wrap pipes in insulation.
3. Seal loose-fitting letterboxes, draughty chimneys, and keyholes.
4. Shut doors in rooms you aren’t using to keep the heat in, or cold out!
5. Consider thermal blinds or lining underneath your curtains to keep that extra bit of heat in the home.
6. Insulate! Half of heat loss in a home is via uninsulated walls and attic, while 10% is due to no flooring insulation, so fill and seal, and use rugs.
7. In case of flood, keep a supply of sandbags at the ready.
8. If expecting a high level of surface water, temporarily seal ventilation bricks with covers and use flood guards for external doors.
9. Fit non-return valves to your pipes and drains and cover your outdoor taps.
10. Keep all of your valuable electrics, from your boiler to fuse box and even television, wall mounted at least 1.5m off the ground.
How to prep your pipes
The insurance experts also offered some specific guidance on making sure your pipes are less likely to freeze, or burst.
It said that pipes that are exposed to outdoor temperatures and pipes that run along exterior walls with minimal lagging tend to freeze more easily.
That’s why it’s a good idea to lag pipes and water tanks in unheated interior areas, such as loft spaces and garages. You could also open the loft trap door on cold days to let heat circulate.
It’s also a good idea to disconnect outdoor items such as hoses and make sure you know where your stopcock is and make sure you can turn it off when necessary.
Keep your heating on at regular intervals and set it on a timer or leave it on low if you’re going away over the Christmas period. If your property is going to be unoccupied for longer periods, turn off the water at the stopcock and consider draining the system so there is no water left in the pipes.
If you find a burst pipe, turn your water off at the main stopcock and open all the taps to drain the system. Switch off central heating and any other water heating installations.
Finally, contact your insurance service for advice, including arranging for professional repairs and how to go about making a claim on your home insurance.