The Consumer Duty
Acting to deliver good outcomes.
When the clocks go back and the days get shorter, there’s no escaping the fact that winter is coming. Some simple home maintenance checks can help reduce the risk of cold and wet weather causing damage to your property.
"Every year we take calls from people who have suffered damage to their property as a result of cold weather. The repairs can be costly and cause a huge amount of disruption."
Every winter, thousands of people suffer from frozen pipes at home but there are some simple steps you can take to reduce the risk of freezing and subsequent bursts.
Keep your home warm and protected this winter with these steps:
Having not used the heating all summer, many people turn on the central heating for the first time in months and discover that it is not working. Plumbers and heating engineers can find themselves inundated as people panic because it’s getting colder outside. Before you call anyone out, it’s worth checking your water pressure, it should be on one bar to keep it working most effectively.
Other than keeping your boiler in check, keeping your home cosy in the winter months can be helped by a few quick tricks. Bleed your radiators every few months to keep them running efficiently, draw curtains to prevent window draughts and if you have a chimney, use a draught excluder to prevent cold chills getting in.
You should also check for bad paintwork and damaged seals on the windows, if there are gaps, water may be let in which could cause the window to swell, jam or rot.
For those really terrible days when you don’t want to leave the house, it’s good to have your cupboards stocked so you don’t have to. Tins and frozen food will last a long time and prevent you from having to venture out in unsavoury weather conditions.
Your outdoor areas are more exposed to the elements more than any other, here are some actions you can take to stay safe.
Pack away summer garden furniture, children’s toys and barbeques, it will keep them safe and prevent damage from being left outside over the winter, it also stops them becoming potential hazards themselves. To prevent them from damage, don’t forget to roll up garden hoses and keep them inside too.
Make sure that gutters and drainpipes are clear of leaves and other debris. If it rains heavily and the gutters overflow this can lead to water getting into the masonry.
Carry out repairs in weaker sections of fences. Most household insurance policies do not cover storm damage to gates and fences due to their vulnerability to this sort of damage. We recommend you make sure they are stable and secure before winter arrives.
Loose tiles can easily become dislodged during high winds and storms and this can lead to damage to the fabric of the building.
If you clear snow and ice outside your home yourself, be careful; you should never use water to clear snow as it can refreeze and turn to black ice. Spreading salt or sand on the area you have cleared can stop black ice. You can use ordinary table or dishwasher salt.
If you’re lucky enough to be going away and leaving the house empty, it’s worth getting someone to check in and keep an eye on your home, especially over the Christmas period. If you are away overnight, leave the heating on at a low level so that warm water is circulating around the pipes.
If you’re away for longer, there are some useful tips to help protect your home: