Don’t let your home get caught out in the cold
It’s freeeeezing outside so there’s no time like the present to get your home wrapped up safe and secure, not just from the threat of burst pipes but from the risk of fire and theft this winter. We all dread that cold snap, but you may get more than cold toes, if you don’t insulate your pipes from the risk of freezing. In addition, winter’s long, dark nights provide perfect cover for burglars, whilst inside, the romance of an open fire and candles can soon turn sour if left unattended.
So here are some easy steps you can take now to make your home winter-proof.
Beat the big freeze.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could just put a big woolly jumper over your house to keep the warmth in and the cold out? Well, insulating the loft is a good start, along with these other tips:
Lag outside pipes to prevent them bursting in the cold
Leave the heating on low when you go away at a constant level of at least 15°C
Make sure you know where the stop cock is, in case of a leak
In severe cold weather, leave the loft hatch open if you are going to be away for a few days or more, to let heat into the roof space, if you have a water tank there
Insulate the sides and top of the water tank in the loft but leave the underside clear to allow warmth from below to penetrate and prevent the tank from freezing
Weather the storm
Winter weather brings high winds, rain and snow, which all take their toll on your home. Take care to:
Check your roof for missing slates, not forgetting felt on sheds and garages – if necessary call in the experts rather than attempt to inspect high roofs yourself
Keep your gutters, gullies and drains, including downpipes clear of autumn leaves
Cut back low hanging tree branches, in case of strong winds or heavy snow
Keep burglars at bay
Dark winter nights provide the perfect cover for burglars. Don’t give thieves a free ride by:
Investing in a burglar alarm, just the siren box acts as a visual deterrent
Making sure your doors are strong and fit good quality mortice deadlocks
Fitting French doors with top and bottom mortice locks
Not leaving spare keys in view and near windows or letter boxes
Be a bright spark
Unattended open fires, candles and fireworks all increase the chance of a house fire, in the winter. Take care with these tips:
Install a functioning smoke detector and test it regularly
Avoid leaving candles unattended, in a draft or somewhere they may be knocked over and keep a guard in front of an open fire if you’re away from the room
Set off fireworks for new year celebrations well away from the house and from any over-hanging trees. If you live in or near thatched homes best leave fireworks to organised displays!
Invest in a couple of extinguishers – keep them handy and know how to use them
Don’t fill a chip pan with more than one third of fat or oil
Always switch off electric blankets before getting into bed and make sure they display a safety mark
With these tips, you’ll be ready to shut the door, draw the curtains and stay safe and warm all winter.