Household emergencies generally occur during the depths of winter, but we recommend that homeowners undertake a pre-winter checklist now to prevent unforeseen property headaches in the months to come, especially remembering last year’s weather! Here are some pointers:
• Don’t wait until the really cold weather arrives to discover that the central heating is not working. Time your central heating to click on for one minute a day throughout the year to avoid it seizing.
• A sudden cold snap can burst water pipes, causing flooding. Make sure you know the location of the stop-cock. Ensure your pipes and tank are properly lagged but do not insulate underneath your tank. If you are going away, leave the heating on low and leave your loft hatch open.
• Storms can bring down branches causing damage to roofs, so it’s worth doing some pruning now rather than having to call out the tree-surgeon, roofer and insurance assessor in an emergency.
• Check your gutters are clear, as the weight of waterlogged and frozen leaves can cause them to leak or collapse.
• Assess your roof for loose tiles that can easily become dislodged during high winds, causing damage to property, cars and possibly injury to people.
• Avoid getting smoked out as you light the first fire of winter by checking that birds have not made a nest in the chimney.
• Outside lighting not only enhances safety but also deters burglars, who are more active during the winter.
• Ensure your garden furniture, barbeque, toys, etc are securely stored as they can be stolen if left outside, and damaged or prove hazardous in bad weather.
All the above can usually be done over a weekend, which is time well spent if the stress and expense of a winter emergency are to be avoided.