How to Keep Your Home in Shape this Winter

How to Keep Your Home in Shape this Winter

It's another cold snap with freezing temperatures and snow forecast. And while hoar frost and a dusting of snow can look very pretty on a Sunday morning, nobody looks forward to costly home repairs and insurance claims due to frost damage.

So it’s time to get out the ‘keep your home in shape’ checklist:

Frozen Pipes… are horrid

Not having any water is worrisome, but a frozen pipe – if it were to burst – can seriously damage your home, too. You might think that it’s not that cold yet, but damp and wind chill can combine to make pipes freeze long before you expect it. To be on the safe side, make sure all outside pipes are well lagged, especially where the wind might reach them.

If you’re away from your home for a few days, it’s best to leave your central heating on low, or have it come on a couple of times during the day. Alternatively, turn off the water at the mains and open all taps to drain the pipes before you leave. Don’t forget to flush the toilets, too!

And if you do notice a frozen pipe? Don’t wait until it bursts. Locate the point where the pipe is frozen and either wrap the pipe in hot cloths or gently warm it with a hairdryer until the ice dissolves and the water runs freely once more.

Stormproof Your Home

In England, we’re much more used to rain and strong winds than large quantities of snow and ice. But while it might be a little warmer and wetter than elsewhere, wind and rain bring their own set of problems for homeowners. Bad storms often result in damage to roofs, aerials and outbuildings. And if you’ve ever had a leak, you’ll know that water can cause significant damage to ceilings, walls and even your furniture.

Keeping your gutters clear and your roof tiles in good shape will help prevent leaks and water damage. It’s also a good idea to check the fittings on aerials and satellite dishes, especially after a bad storm, to make sure they’re still safe and sound and ready to withstand the next one.

Keep an Eye on your Garden

Strong winds and frost can take a toll on your garden, too. Keep an eye on your trees during the worst of the weather, maybe even support those that move too much with a stake or two. After all, nobody wants to be woken by a tree crashing through the roof!

Pots and drip trays can be frost victims too, and sometimes they’re too big to move. Wrapping your biggest pots in bubble wrap during the worst of the cold spells can stop them from cracking. Drip trays or large terracotta dishes are designed to hold water, which isn’t a good thing when there’s a nip in the air. Make sure they’re empty and if you can store them indoors, it might be a good idea to do so.

Unless it’s your cat’s drinking dish, of course… in which case it’s even more important that the contents don’t freeze!

Keep Safe Indoors

Candles and fires are lovely when it’s cold outside. Enjoying them with company is even better. To make sure that nothing untoward happens to your home while you enjoy the light and warmth, keep an eye on all open flames. If you have an open fire, make sure it is safe before you head off to bed. Don’t leave candles unattended and – just to be on the safe side – check your smoke alarm!

It takes just a little planning and forethought to keep your home in shape this winter… but we’re sure you agree that it’s time very well spent.

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  • Gary Anderson
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