The nights are dark and the temperatures are plummeting – but before you cosy up indoors, ask yourself whether you have put proper winter precautions in place.
It’s vital to be prepared at this time of year, so here are some top tips from the LWood team.
1. Check your insurance
Double check that you have full home and car insurance in place. This time of year tends to see a spike in claims for both, so check the provisions carefully and ensure you are adequately covered for your needs. Remember, it is better to be over-covered with an insurance policy than be left short. If you need any advice on this, please contact the LWood Bingley team and we’ll be delighted to help.
2. Be ready for an emergency
Whilst you’re indoors enjoying a hot drink in front of the fire, your house will be feeling the chill. Typical stress points include blocked drains, broken boilers and frozen pipes. Carry out any essential servicing and maintenance before serious cold snaps set in and tradespeople get fully booked with emergencies. Consider having home emergency cover in place on your insurance too for extra peace of mind.
3. Insulate your home
You can make your home cosy and maximise energy efficiency by keeping curtains closed in the evenings, using draught excluders and putting foil reflectors behind your radiators. Remember too that double glazing is an investment that will pay for itself in the longer term and an energy-efficient boiler will also save you money.
4. Unblock the drains
Avoid the risk of a burst pipe by unblocking drains in advance with a mix of salt and water. The salt solution naturally clears grime out of pipes to keep them flowing.
5. Be ready for a power cut
Have candles, blankets and torches ready for any power cut, and know where to find them easily if you do suddenly get plunged into darkness!
6. Avoid blocked pipes
When you go away, keep the central heating down low and leave internal doors open. Another good tip is to keep your attic hatch door ajar.
7. Clean icy paths easily
Did you know that cat litter is a great way to avoid slippery and icy paths? Just scatter it down. It is also kinder to your plants than salt.
8. Check radiators
If you find a cold patch on your radiator or hear a gurgling noise, then it needs bleeding. Do this regularly to release trapped air and to increase the efficiency of your central heating system.
9. Check the boiler
If you do experience a boiler problem, check first that the pilot light is on and use the manual to relight it if necessary. Check all switches if there is a power outage. Then, check that the water thermostat is switched on to ‘high’ and if there is still no sign of life, replace the fuse plug. Have a trusted plumber on hand if these steps don’t work.
10. De-icing your car
Try using a car cover on icy nights and have plenty of de-icer ready. Don’t pour boiling water over the windows – they can crack – and never leave your car running while you go back into the house. Winter sees a spike in opportunistic car thefts and leaving your car running while you aren’t in attendance will invalidate your policy!
With these steps in place and your insurance documents checked you can go back to the seriously enjoyable business of keeping warm and cosy inside over winter!