Winter home protection

Winter home protection

Don't let your home get caught out in the cold

It’s freeeeezing outside so there’s no time like the present to get your home wrapped up safe and secure, not just from the threat of burst pipes but from the risk of fire and theft this winter.  We all dread that cold snap, but you may get more than cold toes, if you don’t insulate your pipes from the risk of freezing. In addition, winter’s long, dark nights provide perfect cover for burglars, whilst inside, the romance of an open fire and candles can soon turn sour if left unattended.

So here are some easy steps you can take now to make your home winter-proof.

Beat the big freeze

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just put a big woolly jumper over your house to keep the warmth in and the cold out? Well, insulating the loft is a good start, along with these other tips:

  • Lag outside pipes to prevent them bursting in the cold
  • Leave the heating on low when you go away at a constant level of at least 15°C
  • Make sure you know where the stop cock is, in case of a leak
  • In severe cold weather, leave the loft hatch open if you are going to be away for a few days or more, to let heat into the roof space, if you have a water tank there
  • Insulate the sides and top of the water tank in the loft but leave the underside clear to allow warmth from below to penetrate and prevent the tank from freezing

Weather the storm

Winter weather brings high winds, rain and snow, which all take their toll on your home. Take care to:

  • Check your roof for missing slates, not forgetting felt on sheds and garages – if necessary call in the experts rather than attempt to inspect high roofs yourself
  • Keep your gutters, gullies and drains, including downpipes clear of autumn leaves
  • Cut back low hanging tree branches, in case of strong winds or heavy snow

Keep burglars at bay

Dark winter nights provide the perfect cover for burglars. Don’t give thieves a free ride by:

  • Investing in a burglar alarm, just the siren box acts as a visual deterrent
  • Making sure your doors are strong and fit good quality mortice deadlocks
  • Fitting French doors with top and bottom mortice locks
  • Not leaving spare keys in view and near windows or letter boxes

Be a bright spark

Unattended open fires, candles and fireworks all increase the chance of a house fire, in the winter. Take care with these tips:

  • Install a functioning smoke detector and test it regularly
  • Avoid leaving candles unattended, in a draft or somewhere they may be knocked over and keep a guard in front of an open fire if you’re away from the room
  • Set off fireworks for new year celebrations well away from the house and from any over-hanging trees.  If you live in or near thatched homes best leave fireworks to organised displays!
  • Invest in a couple of extinguishers – keep them handy and know how to use them
  • Don’t fill a chip pan with more than one third of fat or oil
  • Always switch off electric blankets before getting into bed and make sure they display a safety mark

With these tips, you’ll be ready to shut the door, draw the curtains and stay safe and warm all winter.

Blog by Craig Allen, Head of Home Underwriting at Ageas