Preparing for the Winter Months

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After the Beast from the East, the Pest from the West and plenty of reminders of 'The Winter of 1978', the summer heatwave has been a welcome break. However, before we know it the shops will be adorning their windows in tinsel and odds on a White Christmas will be the hot topic once again. Taking some time before the nights draw to prepare your house and garden for the coming season could not only save you money but also reduce your likelihood of needing to make a claim this winter.

Inside the House

Book the Chimney Sweep - this should ideally be carried out at least once a year, the best time is before the 'first fire' of the season. For advice on the best Chimney Sweep in your area, contact the National Association of Chimney Sweeps - 

Check your Smoke and CO2 Alarms - while you should be checking the batteries in your alarms all year round, this is an especially important task if you do have a log burner or open fire. Make sure to replace the batteries at least once a year. 

Book a Boiler Service - it's best to make sure that your boiler is in full working order before the temperature drops and you will be relying on it.

Check your Pipes -  make sure that the insulation is intact on all pipes and that the mains water stopcock can be easily turned should you need to cut off the water supply in an emergency.  


Outside the House

Clean the Gutters -  this in an especially important task between autumn and winter, but it's good to stay on top of things from the end of the summer as trees start to shed their leaves. A gutter that is blocked cannot drain properly, and overflowing gutters can lead to a whole host of damp problems if left for long periods of time. As well as clearing any blockages, gutters should also be checked for any cracks or signs of wear and tear such as loose fittings fixing brackets.

Check or Consider Installing outdoor Lighting - test all outside lights to make sure that bulbs are working. Outdoor lighting will not only be a great help on dark winter mornings and evenings but will also make your property a less attractive target to opportunist break-ins. 

Carry out maintenance on Flat Roofs - flat roofs require more maintenance than pitched roofs, as they become a surface for water to collect on so are more likely to leak. Make sure to check for cracks, tears or evidence of sun damage. 

Look over the general exterior - take a walk around the property and look for any loose roof tiles, check the brickwork for signs of wear and tear and finally, inspect any trees with overhanging branches that could damage either your home or a power line. You want to make sure your property is as structurally sound as possible before inclement weather, and reduce the risk of more damage occurring in storms and high winds.


In the Garden

Make sure garden sheds, furniture and ornaments are secured - the shorter days lead to an annual rise in home invasions and theft, particularly from gardens and outbuildings. In order to be seen as less of a target, make sure that any desirable items are not left in sight and are ideally securely locked in a shed or outbuilding.