With the colder temperatures arriving and the dark nights setting it, winter has well and truly arrived. However, have you checked that your house and garden are ready for winter and all that comes with it?
Take a look at our latest blog to see if you are truly prepared for the winter months.
Gardens and Outdoors
Firstly, have you checked your garden furniture is secure? When the winds pick up plenty of garden furniture can become a flying danger if not secured down. Make sure that any loose items such as garden chairs, trampolines and wheelie bins are secure and not able to get picked up in a gust of wind.
Next, you need get the ladders out and start checking the roof – are your tiles secure or has anything broken during the year? Definitely worth checking to help avoid leaks and any further damage being caused during the winter weather. Whilst you are up on the ladder you could also give your gutters a good clean out. Over the year twigs, leaves and moss will have landed in your gutter and if they become blocked could result in rainwater leaking down the side of the house instead of down the drainpipe. Keeping your drainpipes clear will ensure any rainwater running off your roof will be collected and removed in the correct way.
Now is also the time to give your trees a once over and ensure any low hanging or damaged branches are removed to decrease the risk of any branches breaking off during high winds and damaging property. You might want to also check your gates and fences to ensure they are in good condition and not going to be easily blown down during any winter storms.
Finally, make sure to check your outside lights are in full working order so you can navigate your way safely around your property during the dark winter evenings and mornings.
Inside your House
Have you checked your heating is in full working order? Maybe it is time to consider getting your boiler serviced to check that everything is in full working order before you need to have the heating on a regular schedule. It is also a good time to check your radiators are in full working order. If they feel cold at the top and hot at the bottom, then they might need bleeding to get rid of any trapped air. Whilst you’re checking your boiler and radiators, make sure to check that your pipes and hot water tank are insulated, this way you won’t be losing any heat and ultimately will end up saving money on those energy bills!
Ensure you have also checked for any draughts around windows and doors, checking that your windows are closed up tight and if necessary purchasing draught excluders for any doors that need it. Investing in heavier curtains will also help keep to maintain the levels of warmth in the evenings and stop heat escaping.
Finally, with the increased use of your boiler, fires and other heaters it is vitally important to check that your Carbon Monoxide detector is in full working order. Carbon monoxide is released when fuels do not fully combust, and is an odourless, colourless gas. The increased use of fires and heaters during the winter months along with lack of ventilation in people’s houses can cause a build-up of carbon monoxide in properties. Increased levels of carbon monoxide can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning and can kill if not treated immediately. Carbon monoxide alarms can be bought in DIY shops, so if you do not already have one, buy one immediately to help protect yourself and your family.
Power Cut Ready?
As the winter weather settles in, so does the increased risk of power cuts, so are you power cut ready?
If the power goes off in your house, the first thing to check is your consumer unit. Have any of your circuit breakers or RCD tripped? If so, switch it back on to restore power. However, if after checking and everything is still on the power has probably been cut to not only your house but your neighbours too.
At the start of winter save the number 105 into your mobile phone under the name power cut. This number will take you through to your local power provider who will be able to advise you on how long to expect the power cut to last. As well as saving this number on your phone, prepare yourself a power cut kit. You might want to include battery powered torches, spare batteries, a fully charged power bank for your mobile phone, warm blankets, gas stove and anything else you might need during a power cut.
If you know you have elderly neighbours, it might also be worth just popping round to check they are ok if the power cut is due to last for a significant period of time.
Now that you have checked your outdoor space, made sure that indoors is warm and toasty, and prepped yourself for a power cut, now is the time to do those final checks.
Have you checked your insurance? Now is the time to make sure your policy is up to date and includes everything you need it to cover just in case. Winter storms can cause severe damage to properties and you do not want to be caught out if your insurance policy is not accurate.
Finally, are you aware of the flood risk around your property? You can sign up to free flood warnings and check for flood alerts here. You can also call the Floodline number (0345 988 1188) if you are concerned about flooding.
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