12 Ways to Get Your Home Fit for Winter!
Although winter snow and ice can be fun for kids, plunging temperatures can spell disaster for the unwary and ill-prepared home owner. A few simple checks and a little forethought is all it takes to get your home fit for winter. But don’t let those mild autumn days fool you; winter’s just around the corner so give your home its winter health check before the first flakes fall!
Make yourself a checklist and schedule in a day every year at the end of the summer/beginning of autumn to go through it thoroughly to prepare your home against the onslaught of heavy rain; freezing temperatures, high winds and snow.
1. Choose a calm day to clean out gutters which may have become clogged with leaves or even grass during the summer and previous autumn. Make sure there are no loose or damaged joints or leaks.
2. While you’re in the mood, clear any drain grilles around the house and patio areas of fallen leaves and other debris. Power wash patios and footways around the house too as they can become slippery with mildew and moss at the end of the summer. 3. Give your roof a visual once-over from ground level. If you spot any loose, missing or damaged slates, contact a roofer and get them repaired. While he’s up there in the vicinity, ask him to check that TV aerials and dishes are fixed securely too.
4. Water is very good at finding a way into your home especially when driven by high winds. Check pointing and rendering on exterior walls and arrange for any that is loose, cracked or absent altogether to be repaired.
5. The last thing you want is for your boiler and/or central heating to fail during a cold snap. It’s well worth paying for a qualified service engineer to come out and service the system well in advance of any cold weather. Some companies, British Gas for example, include an annual boiler service free of charge in your maintenance contract with them.
6. If your heating is oil fired, be sure to order a top up for your oil tank and make sure you keep an eye of the tank gauge during the colder weather when more will be used. It’s not good to run out of oil and be left without heating and hot water; and this always seems to happen at the weekend for some reason!
7. Make sure you arrange for the chimney sweep to attend well before you want to light a fire if you have an open hearth or wood burner. Ask him to fit a bird cowl on your chimney if you don’t already have one so that birds will not nest and block the chimney in the spring.
8. All fire and carbon monoxide alarms need to be checked regularly and especially before fires, candles and tea lights are lit.
9. A burst pipe is no laughing matter. Make sure your insulation is up to the job and lag any external pipes and water tanks. Properly fitted draught excluders stop precious heat from escaping as does loft insulation.
10. Have a list of emergency numbers next to the ‘phone just in case. Your list should include; gas engineer, electrician, plumber and GP.
11. Make sure that all adults in the house know where to find the stopcock and mains fuse box.
12. Have two torches with new batteries; one upstairs and one downstairs in case of overnight power cuts.
About Alison Page
Alison is a small business owner, freelance writer, author and dressage judge. She has degrees in Equine Science and Business Studies. Read her full story at http://www.theladywriter.co.uk