Every year, most of us dread the arrival of winter. That might be even more the case when we’ve just had one of those much-loved traditional British summers! More seriously, it’s a time of year when we need to start thinking about preparing our property for the ravages of the weather to come, and getting your home ready for winter. Here are a few tips along those lines.
Check your insurance
Most of us have home insurance of one sort or another.
Just take a few minutes to refresh your memory as to any conditions and terms attached to your home and the various sorts of cover provided for weather-related damage. Check:
- have you done anything to your home or contents since last winter that might increase the level of cover you require? Examples might include having a new extension, building a patio or perhaps acquiring some expensive antiques;
- is anything different that could conceivably mean you’re in breach of the conditions of your policy.
If you’re uncertain, contact an expert provider of home insurance. They can offer you some clarification of typical things to consider and look for but ultimately, you will need to carefully read your existing policy to be sure.
Clear your gutters and drains
There’s no real point in doing this until the last of the leaves has fallen but once that’s over, make an effort.
Blocked gutters and drains are a major source of penetrating damp and they can cause flooding too. In passing, don’t take risks at the top of ladders. If you’re not comfortable up there, get a professional to help.
Check your windows and seals
Over summer, seals around windows can dry out and perish, particularly if they’re older. That means water can penetrate.
That could be a real nuisance and especially so if it’s in the loft and a skylight or similar.
Don’t forget the loft and roof
Make sure no tiles or slates have slipped from your roof.
This is a slightly tricky one because some roof tiles/slates will be visible from your loft though if you have heavy roof insulation, they won’t be. In that case, you might want to ask your roofing contractor to clear your gutters, valleys and check the slates/tiles, all at the same time.
Get your chimney(ies) swept
A large number of house fires are chimney fires. These can be incredibly dangerous and often arise as a result of accumulated soot and other debris in an un-swept chimney.
Note that some home insurance policies might stipulate that your chimney must be swept annually, or as part of getting your home ready for winter.
Check your boiler and boiler flues
If you have any sort of combustion-based boiler system (e.g. gas, wood, pellets, coal etc.) then all the flues and chimney outlets must also be checked and swept.
This is a fire risk reduction issue but is also important in terms of fumes etc.
Prune or otherwise check trees
Winter storms can play havoc with trees, particularly those that are old or not in the best of condition. That can be very dangerous for people and property.
Find a local tree expert and ask them to check the health of your larger trees and if necessary, to control their height or possibly remove them if they’re beyond saving.
Getting your home ready for winter not only helps you stay warm over the colder months, but also reduces the risk of having to repair more extensive damage if something goes awry.