Your winter home health check
Every year thousands of homes are damaged by winter weather, causing inconvenience, distress and great expense. The good news is, a lot of these problems can be avoided by giving your home the once over before the worst of the weather hits.
As winter approaches, it's worth taking 15 minutes to carry out a visual inspection of your property. It's just like an MOT for your home.
Have a look outside
Put away any garden furniture or unsecured outdoor items you won't be using during winter. Look out for slipped slate or missing tile on your roof, plant life growing out of your gutters or a rotted fence or leaning wall.
It's easy to see if something doesn't look quite right - using binoculars or a camera with zoom can help you get a better view of areas you might not be able to see from the ground, and will save you the trouble of going up ladders.
All this can all be done at no cost at all and will give you the opportunity to call in a tradesman or carry out maintenance works if you spot anything.
Check the weather reports
If weather reports are predicting extreme weather, it may also be worth putting together an emergency kit that includes key personal documents, torch, battery, mobile phone, rubber gloves, wellies, waterproof clothing, a first aid kit, bottled water, food and blankets.
Have a read of your policy
It's also worth having a read through of your policy. If there's anything you're unsure about, call us and we'll be pleased to clarify what cover you have in place. You may even find that additional cover can be added to protect anything that's not included as standard.
Common winter problems
Guarding against damp
Condensation forms when there's a difference between temperatures inside and outside and left unchecked can lead to mould and rot in window frames and walls. This common problem can be kept under control by wiping condensation-covered windows with a cloth each morning.
Simple steps to guard against condensation:
- Covering pots when cooking
- Not letting your kettle boil for too long
- Not drying clothes indoors
- Keeping bathrooms and kitchens well-ventilated when in use.
In extreme cases, it may also be worth investing in a dehumidifier.
Water also enters your house as damp, which can cause serious structural problems. Penetrating damp is caused by cracks in walls, damaged roofs and overflowing guttering. This can be fixed by addressing the route problem, drying the area out with a dehumidifier and replastering if necessary.
Rising damp on the other hand, comes from your house not having a sufficient damp proof course in your brickwork. This will need to be dealt with by a qualified contractor right away - the longer it's left, the more damage it will do to your home.
Preventing house fires
More fires occur in December and January than any other months of the year. A few simple precautions can prevent the most common causes of fire.
- Install smoke alarms on each floor of the house, test the batteries regularly and change the battery every year
- If using an electric blanket, use one with a timer and thermostat that will cut off if it gets too hot, and do not use if gets wet
- If using a space heater, do not cover with drying clothes, keep away from soft furnishings and turn off before bed
Make a date to give your home a pre-winter health check this, and every, year. It could save you a lot of upset in the long run. We've also put together guides focused on other common winter issues like frozen pipes or dealing with floods, so you can find further useful tips in those.
What to do if your home is damaged
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