When it comes to the Winter Months you either think of them fondly or wish them away. Cosy evenings in front of the TV with a hot chocolate can leave us feeling very festive. Unfortunately cold, wet and potentially snowy weather can bring issues for our homes as well as disruption to our lives.
We’ve put together a small ‘checklist’ that you can follow to prepare your home for these winter months. Read on to find more information on how you can potentially avoid any unnecessary issues that can ruin your winter.
The last few years have brought unusually cold temperatures with some spells of heavy snow, often stretching into the new year. With no sign of this trend changing, it’s vital that you ensure your home is fully prepared to deal with the conditions.
Preparing the outside of your home is very important. Although you may want to stay snuggled up indoors, you will likely be entering and leaving your property frequently. From keeping your paths clear of leaves and ice to making sure your rubbish and recycling bins are kept securely. Making sure you avoid any potential accidents and/or damage to your property is important. Removing any debris from your gutters can stop any blockages or overflow of water that results in damp or damage to your building.
With temperatures decreasing, it pays to check that your home is going to be well protected against the cold.
If you have any loft space, make sure it is properly insulated to stop any heat escaping swiftly. While this can be quite an expensive exercise it will not only help to keep your property warm and toasty but can help to reduce your heating bills too.
Finally, making sure important pipes do not freeze over is a vital task. Frozen pipes can lead to blockages and ultimately bursts and leaks. To prevent this from happening you can wrap any exposed pipes with thermal insulation known as ‘lagging’. You can buy these from most DIY retailers.
If by chance the water in your pipes does freeze and the pipe bursts, it’s important to know how to shut the water mains off and avoid any potential flooding.
Your stop cock is the valve that turns controls the running of your cold-water system. Understanding where this is located can be just as important as wrapping your pipes. Your home’s stop cock is often found in your kitchen, under the sink or in a utility room. Look out for a tap or lever on copper pipes and turn it clockwise to switch it off.
We’ve addressed steps you can take to help keep your home cosy and reduce your energy bills. It is however important that you keep your home warm throughout the day and your heating ticking over.
Ideally, you should aim to heat your home for at least one hour every day. You can do this efficiently by using the timer on your heating system. By running your heating, you can help keep the system healthy and your vital pipes warm.
A simple task, but one you should do before the winter months is maintaining your radiators around the home. You should try to bleed your radiators at least once a year to ensure there’s no trapped air inside. Trapped air causes poor circulation of hot water, resulting in parts of your radiator warming up while others remain cold. This means your central heating isn’t working effectively and subsequently could be costing you more to run.
There are countless debates on whether you should keep your heating on 24/7. Some suggest setting it on a timer and others only use it as and when they feel cold. We can’t dispel any of the myths or give you a solution. Keeping doors to rooms not in use, closed, not opening windows, and deploying draft blockers can help to keep the heat in when you do choose to turn the heating on.
The most important thing to remember is to make sure you have the right home insurance in place. Storms are a regular occurrence during the winter. Heavy snowfall can cause damage to roofs and melting snow and ice can be responsible for water damage. The emphasis on home insurance is often greater than any other time of the year.
Given the current economic crisis and the state of the UK economy, inflation in building materials (25%) and workmanship costs have resulted in around a potential 15% net rise in building valuations that are currently unaccounted for with most insurers. If you are reviewing your home insurance, please make sure you look at the value of your building and make adequate adjustments to your sums insured.
With the festive period looming and holiday sales commencing, new items of clothing, technology or jewellery could be added to your contents meaning you are now underinsured in this area. Remember, SAGIC provide a 20% uplift in your contents cover around family celebrations such as weddings or religious festivals such as Christmas. In turn, helping you to account for any gifts or provisions added to your home in connection with the event. This, however, does not extend to the duration of your policy and you should take care to value your belongings correctly when making new purchases.
Not having adequate cover to put your situation right with replacement belongings or rebuild valuations can be devastating. Help your insurer to help you when you need protection most.
SAGIC do not charge for any adjustments being made and premium increases will solely be reflective of any changes in cover. By taking note and acting on all the above, you will have taken steps towards protecting and preparing your home for the winter.