Get your home ready for winter
Autumn has officially arrived and while the temperature is still tolerable, the rough weather that rounds off every British year won’t be far away. That means it’s time for some essential pre-winter home maintenance. If you check the important things now, you still have time to make repairs before the weather turns.
Check your pipes
Burst pipes cause lots of damage and cold winter weather is one of the main causes. The last thing you need in the middle of winter is to be without heating and hot water.
So first thing’s first – make sure your pipes won’t freeze by checking that they’re properly insulated. A layer of foam (known as lagging) will go a long way to keeping your pipes in top condition.
Next, make sure you know where your stopcock is. It’s the tap that controls the water supply to your whole house and it’s often found under the sink, although it could be hiding elsewhere. Try turning it off and on again to make sure it works. If a pipe does burst, your stopcock will let you limit the damage.
Finally, check your taps and make sure none of them are dripping. Get anything that isn’t watertight fixed as drips can cause waste pipes to freeze.
Keep your water tank warm
You need to make sure your water tank doesn’t freeze. Make sure cisterns, water tanks, boilers and anything else that contains standing water is wrapped in an insulation jacket. It’s no good protecting the pipes if the heart of your home is frozen solid.
Top tip: make sure there’s no insulation stuffed under the water tank in your attic. It stops heat rising through the house to the tank, making it more vulnerable to cold conditions.
Prepare things outside
There are plenty of little things just outside the house that could cause problems in the winter. Wind and rain can play havoc with anything that isn’t in prime condition.
It’s crucial, therefore, that you check your roof for any tiles that are damaged or coming loose – you don’t want one of those falling on unsuspecting passers-by.
You’ll also want to clear the gutters and look for any cracks or anything coming away from the wall. Overflowing gutters can cause damp so this is a top priority while the weather’s still okay.
Repair any damage to your fences, gates and garden shed – if the wind picks up and one of these ends up blowing around, it could do some serious harm.
Of course, if you’re anything like me and are prone to slipping and sliding at the first sign of wet leaves, you might also want to make sure you’re tooled up on garden equipment like a rake or a leaf-blower to keep your paths and driveway clear.
Be sure you’re well-stocked on essential supplies in case things get serious.
If there’s a power cut, you’ll need batteries, candles, matches and at least one powerful torch. And if the weather gets so bad you get snowed in, you’ll be grateful for tinned and frozen foods to keep you and your family going.
What are your top tips for preparing for winter? Share them in the comments below.