It’s never too late to prepare your home for the worst of the winter. There are things both large and small you can do that could make a big difference. You’ve probably already done the very best thing and most important thing – insuring your home and contents. But here are a few reminders of how you might be able to prevent having to make a claim and some other handy winter tips.
Review your roof
On the next sunny day, get out and have a good look up at your roof. You’re looking out for missing or broken tiles, dissolved pointing, flapping felt and curling flashing – and maybe any flourishing foliage up there too! It might be worth, if restrictions allow, asking to go into a neighbour’s garden to survey the scene from another angle. If things are difficult to make out, take some pictures (or ask your neighbour to) and zoom in for a closer look. If you spot anything, it might be an idea to get someone out to fix things now.
Take a good look at gutters
Your roof inspection might have highlighted some blocked gutters, especially if you have trees nearby. Even if there are no leaves, if you can see something growing out of hoppers or on corners, there’s probably a thick layer of dust and dirt where a plant or moss can take root. This is best removed by hand, especially if there’s a long section of it; you could try to dislodge it with a hose, but make sure it doesn’t move the problem further along. Once the gutters are free flowing again, you might want to fit grilles or some special long ‘bottle’ brushes to keep leaves and moss out.
If things look fine, dash out on the next rainy day to see how your gutters, downpipes and drains are performing. Any water running down the outside of the pipes, dripping at corners or overflowing on straight runs signal further investigation is needed.
Survey your surroundings
Even if you leave it until there’s a weather warning, it’s worth a scoot around the garden to check things are in order. Store wheelie bins in a shed or garage if you can – or wedge them in a corner or lash them to something sturdy, to stop them blowing about. Check any garden gates or doors to make sure the catch is sturdy enough to keep them closed or brace them, so they stay shut. Also, if any trees or shrubs grew well over the summer, you might want to cut back any overhanging branches. And, of course, bring in or secure any garden furniture.
Floods and power cuts
Winter winds and snowfall can easily damage powerlines, so make sure you know where your torch is and that you have batteries for it. You could buy a low-energy battery-run or rechargeable camping lamp or head torch so you can keep your hands free. If you resort to candles or paraffin lamps, do be extra careful. So you don’t have to scrabble about in the dark, put the hotline number of your electricity provider in your phone or save the web address on your tablet or laptop to get updates on when the power is expected to return.
If there’s any possibility that your home could get flooded, you need to think about what you would do if it did happen. Anyone living near water or an at-risk area should sign up for flood alerts and prepare a flood plan – there’s lots of information and advice here.
You probably do most of these things automatically now, but it’s worth running down this list to make sure nothing needs doing or looking at!
- Insulate water pipes and isolate outside taps.
- Review and renew your loft insulation.
- Service your boiler and think about a replacement if it’s more than 15 years old.
- Get a new jacket for your hot water cylinder – and insulate your cold-water storage tank too.
- Bleed your radiators if they are not hot from top to bottom.
- Use a chimney balloon on any unused fireplaces.
Keep your home insurance up to date and right for you
If your home insurance is coming up for renewal, it’s a great time to check it’s got all the cover you need.
If you’re interested in getting Saga Home Insurance, you’ll be pleased to know you can get 10% cashback at the moment with our exclusive offer for current Saga insurance customers.
Saga’s home insurance policies are unique products designed by us specifically for our customers. They are underwritten by a number of carefully selected insurers that, like us, are committed to providing high standards of quality and service.