How to prepare your home for Winter

October 2017

Roof check

Do a roof check! You should be able to do at least a visual inspection of the roof from the ground or at least scan it closely with binoculars. Look for damaged, loose or missing shingles that may leak during winter’s storms or from melting snow.Have gutters re-fixed if they are sloping the wrong way or discharging water onto the wall.

Get your boiler checked

In winter, heating and hot water are a MUST! Make sure you get a gas engineer out to check your boiler before the winter starts. A boiler repair in the middle of winter can be a very unpleasant experience! 
People tend to put the heating on full blast, wait for the house to warm up, then turn it off again. What would be more efficient – in terms of both keeping your boiler running smoothly and keeping your ever rising energy costs down – would be to keep your boiler running at a lower temperature for a longer time.

Check the chimney and fireplace

Before you burn the Yule log, make sure your fireplace (or any heating appliance burning gas, oil, wood or coal), chimney and vents are clean and in good repair. That will prevent chimney fires and prevent carbon monoxide from creeping into your home.

Check the gutters

Guttering can quickly fill up with leaves and debris. If you leave it long enough, you may also find moss and plant life growing in your gutters! If water is falling sharply from a particular spot, this probably indicates a build-up of debris. This is easy to avoid - just make sure you check your gutters regularly, scooping out any leaves you find. However, if you want to avoid clearing out your gutters altogether, you could install gutter guards. These are metal grates that allow water through but block larger debris.

Protect your pipes

Pipes located in attics, crawl spaces, basements, and near outer walls can be susceptible to freezing in extreme temperatures. When the forecast calls for unusually cold temperatures, let water drip from hot and cold faucets overnight. Also try keeping cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate in places like below sinks. If you open the cabinet doors, be sure to remove anything inside the cabinets that may pose a safety to hazard to children, such as household cleaners. For exposed pipes in your attic, basement, or crawlspaces, add extra insulation around them.
Keep your eye out for blocked downpipes. During heavy rain to see water coming from any leaking joints and during dry weather, look for stained brickwork.

Get your kitchen winter-ready

It’s time to clear the remnants of warmer times from the kitchen – all those half-empty bottles of salad dressing in the fridge, un-eaten ice lollies in the freezer and begin stocking up with more comforting staples!
Hearty stews and one-pots are the order of the day, so buy pulses for the cupboard and make sure you’ve got plenty of cheap cuts of meat in the freezer. Rearrange your herbs and spices so the more winter-friendly flavorings, like cumin or cinnamon, are closer at hand. 
If you have a slow cooker, now’s the time to dust it down and perhaps bring it back onto the kitchen worktop if there's room. Slow cooking means you don’t need to spend your money on expensive meat, and it’ll save you a trip to the supermarket on an icy winter day.

Get covered!

Making sure you’re covered for any winter-related damage is really important.

So check that your home insurance policy offers adequate protection and that you’d be covered in the event of fire, flood, subsidence and theft.

You may also need to look into accidental damage or storm damage as most home cover policies won’t include this as standard, so you may need to add it on.