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Preparing your home for winter

Winter damage to your home can lead to big bills and huge headaches. But by taking some preventative measures now, you can shore up your defences and reduce the likelihood of costly damage occurring. 

Read on for our top recommendations for preparing your home for winter.

Check your roof

Your roof is a key defence against wet and windy weather, which means that any damage could lead to leaks and damp entering your home.

Before winter really sets in, it’s therefore a good idea to replace any tiles that have slipped off and to re-lay any ridge tiles that have shifted out of place. Repairs to the roof flashing should also be carried out to prevent water leaking through the space between the roof and wall, which would eventually allow water into your home.

If you have a thatched roof, read our article to get more detailed advice on how to protect your roof this winter.

Check aerials, satellite dishes and solar panels

Strong winds can batter aerials, dishes or panels on your roof and cause damage if they are not fully secured. To prevent this damage happening to your home, check that they are all firmly fixed in place.

Clear your gutters

Blocked gutters can lead to water running down the walls of your home. This can result in damp, which can be difficult to remove. 

If you’re unsure about the state of your gutters, take a little stroll around your home on a wet day and see if your gutters are catching water properly. If not, you can either clean the gutters yourself or hire a professional. 

Professional services can also be employed to clean your downpipes, in order to ensure that everything is working as it should be. 

Sweep your chimney

If you have an open fire or a wood-burning stove, it is very important to get it swept out regularly. Chimneys can have birds nesting in them over the summer months, which is a risk factor for chimney fires. Over time, damage can also occur to the chimney flue liner, something that can be identified with a regular chimney sweep.

Chimney sweeping should always be carried out by a professional, who should then issue you with a certificate. It’s important to keep this certificate because your insurer will ask to see it if you need to make a claim for a chimney fire.

Insulate your pipes and outdoor taps

When the temperature really plummets, the risk of your pipes or outdoor taps freezing rises rapidly. Frozen pipes and taps are more likely to burst and cause damage, so it’s a very good idea to reduce this possibility with insulation.

Insulating or ‘lagging’ your pipes and taps is inexpensive and easy to do yourself. Pay particular attention to the boiler condensate pipes, which will run from your boiler through to the outside of your home, as well as any valves, bends and fittings.

Service your boiler

Nobody wants their boiler to cut out during the cold weather. To help prevent this, it’s a good idea to get your boiler serviced every year by a professional. Not only can this boost the efficiency of your heating, but it can help to prevent more expensive repairs down the line – and reduce the risk of no heating or hot water during a cold snap.

Store or secure things in the garden

If the wind picks up, you could see your patio furniture knocked over and damaged or a trampoline career around your garden. It’s therefore important that you store or safely secure anything in your garden that could move around and cause damage in bad weather. 

Cut back your trees

Trees that are close to your property can damage your home (or your neighbour’s) in strong winds. Once the leaves have all fallen off, try chopping back branches that have grown a little too close for comfort. If it isn’t safe for you to do this yourself, hire a professional tree surgeon to do the work for you.

Check your Home Insurance cover

As winter sets in, have a quick review of your Home Insurance cover so that you can be sure you have enough protection in place. It’s also worth checking what you need to do should you need to make a claim – this will make the process less stressful if the worst does happen. 

If your Home Insurance policy is due for renewal, or you have questions about cover, you can get in touch with our knowledgeable team. 

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