Britain has one of those climates where our homes might take quite a pounding by the elements. No one knows, of course, just how severe the coming winter might be, but you may be sure that – in some parts of the country in particular – the weather may bring the risk of loss and damage to your property. In order to stave off some of the worst of this, what advice might be given about protecting your property over winter?
- before the risk of any damage at all, it is important to make sure that your home is adequately insured – cover for the building and its contents typically includes flooding and other storm damage (though some exceptions may apply if you had previous claims for floods);
Playing your part in protecting your property
- however good or comprehensive your insurance, however, you are still expected to play your part in mitigating the risk of loss or damage and the following measures might help you to do just that;
Keeping out the cold
- keeping out the cold in the first place is a good place to start – and typically comes from draughts around door and window frames – including your letterbox;
- these may be easily – and cheaply – sealed around the edges and draught excluders bought to keep draughts from entering under around and under doors;
- the escape of water from pipes ruptured by the effects of freezing may cause considerable damage;
- make sure they are adequately lagged, therefore, especially in the roof space and under sinks, where the problem is usually found;
- even when rooms in the house are not being used, or if you are going away for a few days, set the boiler controls to generate at least some form of background heat at intervals during the day;
- consider opening the trap door into your loft a little, so that rising warm air from the rest of the house can raise the temperature a little – and opening the doors to cupboards under sinks may have a similar benefit for pipes there;
- whether or not an emergency arises, a guide published by the Housing Executive reminds householders of the importance of knowing where the main stop-cock is and how to check whether it is working correctly;
In the event of a burst pipe
- the guide also gives advice about dealing with a burst pipe by first turning off any water heating system and draining down the water system in your home by turning it off at the stop-cock, opening all the taps, and flushing the toilet repeatedly, before the pipe can be mended;
- before using the boiler to heat your water again after mending a burst pipe, it may be important to check that it continues to operate at the correct pressure, warns British Gas;
- technically speaking, this is likely to be about one bar of pressure, but its measurement and confirmation that your boiler is working at the correct pressure is something best left to a qualified and Gas Safe registered engineer.
Protecting your property from the worst of the weather this winter need not take a great deal of time or expense, but may save serious damage if conditions become at all severe. If you have any insurance requirements, for your property or otherwise, then GSI Insurance will be more than willing to assist!