Insurance & You

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Tips to winter-proof your home

Houses in the snow

As the days get shorter and the nights get colder, our homes require a little extra love and care to protect them from freezing temperatures and an increased risk of theft and fire. So what should you be doing to protect yourself and your home this year? Here are our top tips to winter-proof your home.


Reducing the risk of burglary

Dark, long nights provide intruders with easy cover for both planned and spontaneous burglaries. Thankfully, there are some simple ways to deter would-be burglars during the winter:

  1. Install a burglar alarm from a reputable supplier - it is a strong deterrent.
  2. Ensure all doors and windows are fitted with good quality mortice locks.
  3. Fit single-lock French windows with top and bottom mortice locks.
  4. Be vigilant - always remember to lock doors and windows.
  5. Don’t leave spare keys under the mat or in plant pots.
  6. Don’t leave window keys in the locks.
  7. Consider fitting a cage on the inside of your letterbox to prevent ‘fishing’ for keys.
  8. Remember to secure garden sheds and garages.


Maintaining warmth

During the winter, it’s important to keep your home warm - not only for your health, but to prevent the risk of burst pipes, damp and condensation. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Ensure your house has proper insulation, especially in the loft.
  2. Insulate any outdoor pipes to prevent freezing.
  3. If your water tank is in the loft, insulate the top and sides but leave the underside clear to be warmed by the house below.
  4. In case of a leak, find the stopcock and make sure it can be easily closed.
  5. If you’re going away for a few days, set the thermostat to at least 15°C to prevent frozen pipes. If possible, open the loft hatch to allow warmth to circulate.


Protecting your home against extreme weather

Aside from cold temperatures, winter often brings extreme weather conditions including gale-force winds, torrential rain and snow storms. To prevent damage to your home, follow our helpful tips.

  1. Make sure your roof is in good repair - you may be able to check from the ground, otherwise it’s worth getting a professional inspection. Be sure to get any broken or missing tiles fixed or replaced.
  2. Clear your gutters and downpipes, and check for any leaks.
  3. Make sure the roofs of any sheds and outbuildings are in good repair, and doors and windows are secure.
  4. Trim any low-hanging tree branches close to your house.


Winter fire safety tips

Open flames are more common during the winter than any other season, whether that’s the warmth of a log fire, the soft glow of a candle or celebratory fireworks. To reduce the risk of fire, here are our simple safety recommendations.

  1. Install smoke detectors in your home and test them regularly.
  2. Never leave an open fire or candles unattended.
  3. Place candles in a safe place, away from draughts.
  4. If you have an open fire always use a fireguard, especially when you leave the room.
  5. Invest in fire extinguishers for your home, and familiarise yourself with how to use them.
  6. Use fireworks at a safe distance from your home, following recommendations on the packaging.
  7. Switch off electric blankets before getting into bed.
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