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Tips To Get Your Home Ready For Winter

Test your heating

The last thing on your mind right now is to test your heating system but it’s pretty crucial and better than waiting until you have a breakdown in the midst of a bitter British winter!

Testing your heating system will help you spot issues early on and give you a chance to book in a heating engineer before the busy season begins, as they get booked up pretty quickly, meaning if left till the last minute, you could end up waiting for weeks (if not months) or getting stuck with a more expensive option, ouch!

Clear your drains and gutters

Cleaning your gutters isn’t fun, but it’s vital to protect your house especially in the winter. Leaves, silt, litter, stones and debris build up over time blocking your drains and gutters and preventing the water from draining away.

All you have to do is pop on some waterproof gloves (nobody wants to get their hands dirty!), rest a ladder against the side of your house and check your gutters for any obstructions. Take a plastic bag with you up the ladder and scoop out anything that shouldn’t be there. If all that sounds like too much to ask, you could get gutter guards installed instead.

Locate your stopcock

A stopcock also called ‘stop valve’ is the control tap for your mains water supply, but do you know where it is? If not, you are not alone. Millions of Brits have no idea what a stopcock is and 25% have never tried to find it.* You need to know where the stopcock is because the harsh winter weather might cause the pipes to freeze, and in some severe cases to crack and burst. Knowing where it is will help you turn the cold water system off and limit leakage and further damages.

As a rule of thumb, the stopcock is usually located under your kitchen sink and looks like a tap/lever. But if it isn’t there, it could be in an airing cupboard, in a hallway, under the stairs, or in some properties, it’s located outside of the house.

Insulate your pipes

The bad news, any exposed pipe that runs along a wall or is in an unheated area like a basement, attic, garage, or utility room is at risk of freezing and bursting in the winter. The good news, it’s easy to protect them with pipe insulation. You can get pipe insulation at the hardware store—it looks like a giant piece of spaghetti with a slit. Just cut it to fit the length of the pipe, wrap it around, then secure it with duct tape.

Get your boiler serviced

By getting your boiler serviced at least once a year, you can spot small issues before they turn into major problems, and save money! Think of it as your boiler’s MOT.

Your boiler might not be operating as well as it should be – and with a few tweaks, a service can get it back on track, saving you money on utility bills, expensive repair costs or even replacing your boiler which can cost thousands. The cost of annual boiler services vary depending on who carries it out and what kind of boiler you have, but on average the cost is between £75 – £150 for a local heating company.**

Bleed your radiators – not literally!

In a nutshell, if your radiator is hot at the bottom and cold at the top then it’s likely to be down to air pockets that stop warm water from circulating in the radiator. Bleeding a radiator is a way of releasing air from the system.

Just grab an old cloth and a radiator bleed key – which can be found at any hardware store. While the heating is off, insert the key into the valve, usually at the top right, and turn it anti-clockwise slowly until you hear a hissing sound. Once you reach the little bit of water at the end, tighten the valve back up and mop up any spillages with a cloth.

Set a heating timer

Going away this winter? Use your timer to ensure the heating system runs smoothly and prevent your pipes from freezing and eventually bursting. Luckily you don’t need to put the heater on the whole day, in fact, all you need is a couple of hours a day to keep your pipes safe.
Let’s be honest, the last thing you want to do when you come back from a week on the beach is to deal with a burst pipe!

Ensure you’re insured

This autumn, having the right home insurance policy that fits your needs should be your top priority as crime rates against property increase when the nights get longer. Although, you might not be able to prevent bad weather from damaging your property completely, having an insurance policy that covers damage from extreme weather conditions such as storms or flooding will help put your mind at rest!

Create a power cut emergency pack

This autumn, having the right home insurance policy that fits your needs should be your top priority as crime rates against property increase when the nights get longer. Although, you might not be able to prevent bad weather from damaging your property completely, having an insurance policy that covers damage from extreme weather conditions such as storms or flooding will help put your mind at rest!

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