4 min read
Winter officially starts on the 22nd December which means we have a fair bit of time to get prepped - here in the North we’ve been wrestling with winter long before Game of Thrones was even dreamt of! Even though we don't necessarily mean battening down the hatches and hibernating for the duration, it does mean carrying out some simple checks and home admin that can minimise the potential for weather related problems.
Depending on where you live and what kind of a house you live in, your checklist will vary. This is a simple guide to the most common ways to get ready for winter. What makes it super-helpful is that if you start now, you can check one off your list each week, and still have time to put your feet up before the holiday season.
Our winters are also becoming increasingly wetter, so it’s important to protect your home in the longer term by ensuring gutters are free from blockages and water can drain away quickly and easily before causing water damage. This may be a job you can do yourself – carefully! – though you may need to engage a specialist for higher to reach areas.
We’re a nation that loves open fires and log burning stoves – they not only warm our tootsies, they warm our hearts too. To make sure your fire sees you through the heavy use of the winter season, schedule a professional clean soon. As well as ensuring good ventilation, this will also minimise the risk of chimney fire.
Don’t get caught short! Should your boiler fall over in the middle of a cold snap, you can be sure that it will be hard to get a heating engineer – especially if the weather is really treacherous. Get your boiler serviced before the bad weather arrives, making sure you used a qualified professional. For example, use a Gas Safe engineer if you have gas.
If your boiler is more than 15 years old and you meet the income criteria, you could qualify for a boiler replacement grant. We’d also recommend checking your cover should the worst happen such as our home emergency cover.
If you haven’t already, protecting pipes with a foam layer (lagging) will help to stop them from freezing. Which is also important because if they do freeze, they’re then at high risk of bursting. Checking your pipes are also free of any vegetation is also a good idea as this can damage them too.
Most people these days have double or triple glazing and cavity wall insulation – and that’s for good reason! According to NiDirect, un-insulated cavities can add up to 25 per cent onto your heating bill.
Plus, the Energy Saving Trust say that insulation offers typical savings of £120 on your energy bills. If you have solid walls, check out the options for adding weatherproof insulating treatment on the exterior, or readymade insulation boards internally. Loft insulation can also be an easy fix, as it’s cheap to buy and can be installed easily, saving both energy (a quarter of your heat is lost through the roof!) and money. And don’t forget to make sure your hot water cylinder has an insulating jacket.
Shop around for oil. Check out the best suppliers for coal and logs. And get online to make sure you’re on the cheapest gas or electricity tariff – the savings could mount up over the course of the winter. MoneySavingExpert says that more than half of energy customers could save up to £180 on their annual energy bill by switching.
Yes you knew we’d get here! It’s our specialist subject…
It’s a good idea to check that your home insurance policy covers you for any winter related damage. For example, you may have trees in your garden that haven’t been considered in your policy and could be in danger from accidental or storm damage.
Whatever your particular worry, we’d be happy to see if we can help to give you more peace of mind. Our in-house Home team will put together a policy that's designed around you and your home and can include Accidental Damage.
Just give us a call on 0333 251 6058 to ask!
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