10 ways to prepare for the festive season
Is your home winter-ready? Learn how to protect your property from frostbite, weather damage and more with our winter health checklist.
There’s lots to think about over the festive period – from holiday baking and Christmas shopping, to decking the halls and making family plans. But spare a moment too for your home.
As the days grow colder and the nights draw in, it’s more important than ever to keep things warm, safe and secure.
Use our winter health checklist to help get your home ready for when the temperatures drop.
Secure garden furniture
High-speed winds could also take hold of your garden furniture.
Make sure your garden chairs, hanging baskets and any loose pots are safely stored away for winter, or risk them being damaged or causing damage to your property.
Cut back the trees
If you have bought your home recently, the rebuild cost should appear on your mortgage valuation or deeds.
If not, there are two ways to calculate your rebuild cost:
Use the Building Costs Information Service (BCIS) calculator for guidance
Hire a chartered surveyor to assess the property for you
You can find a chartered surveyor on the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors website.
Check the roof
Broken or loose slates could lead to leaks and other weather-related damage if left through the winter months.
Make the time to check your roof, or get in the professionals, to double check it’s winter-ready this year.
Fix loose fence panels
Of course it's tempting to leave loose or damaged fence panels for next summer’s to-do list. But holding off will likely only result in more damage once bad weather strikes.
Take the time now to repair your fences before the winter does its worst, and save them being battered by high winds.
Clear drains and gutters
Blocked gutters and clogged-up drains could result in cracked pipes, leaks, damp or even subsidence affecting your property.
Keep on top of clearing your gutters from mud and debris, particularly as the autumn leaves begin to fall.
Protect your pipes
Frozen water in your pipes could cause them to crack and eventually burst. If you’re going away over winter you can expect the temperature to drop below freezing, so it’s important to be prepared.
Save yourself from water damage by protecting your pipes with a foam layer (called lagging), so you don’t come home to damp carpets, or worse.
Find out what to do if you have a burst pipe here.
Sweep the chimney
Failing to clear your chimney before winter hits could have severe consequences. Flammable deposits inside your chimney shaft are easy to ignite and difficult to put out.
Protect your home from chimney fires by booking a professional to clean your chimney long before you're likely to need it.
Get your boiler checked
Packed-in boiler? There’s nothing worse. Especially when the cold takes over.
Get your boiler serviced using a trusted tradesperson, well in advance of the temperature dip, so you can enjoy the comfort of knowing you’ll be blissfully cosy when the frosts arrive.
For information on covering your boiler, visit our boiler insurance page.
Bleed the radiators
If the heating's on but your radiators feel cold, it’s time to turn to your trusty bleeding key.
Only bleed your radiators while your heating’s turned off – it’s a good idea to bleed them all before setting your thermostat for winter.
Keeping a cloth handy to save your carpets getting wet, turn the bleeding key anti-clockwise in the valve until you hear a hissing sound. Once the first water begins to spurt, you’ll know you’ve emptied all the air.
Keep things cosy
It’s not just you who feels the chill. Your home also needs some warmth to keep damp at bay and prevent freezing pipes.
If you have a loft, make sure it’s properly insulated and keep your central heating at a minimum of 15°C (59F) for a few hours each day to help keep the frost out.
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