Cold weather, strong winds and flooding are all potential hazards in the winter months that can end up damaging your home and costing you money.
Whether you’re at home over the winter months or you’re going abroad, it’s important that you take steps to protect yourself from potentially costly repairs. Structural damage to your property and ruined possessions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to weather-related property damage.
Preventing frozen pipes
Frozen pipes can be an expensive problem. Even if you’re renting, you can be liable for the repairs if it was your inaction that led to the damage. Make sure you know where your stop tap is in case of emergencies, and leaving your heating on for at least an hour a day can help prevent your pipes freezing. If temperatures plummet, it might be worth keeping your heating on for longer each day.
Preventing roof damage
It can be worth trimming nearby trees to make sure they don’t fall onto your property in heavy winds. It’s also important to check your gutters are clean and that no tiles are loose or missing on the roof.
Checking loft insulation
Check you have suitable loft insulation and that it isn’t damaged. It’s worth noting that 11 inches is the recommended depth for roof insulation.
Securing the garden
If you have an outside tap, then you may need to isolate it so it doesn’t freeze. You should also check- or get someone to check- your guttering for damage, especially after heavy downpours. If heavy winds are forecast, then make sure that all of your garden furniture is secured.
Make sure everything’s in working order
Getting your boiler serviced before the cold weather begins can make it less likely that you’ll have to do a callout once something has already broken.
If you’re leaving your property empty...
If you’re planning on going away in cold weather, it’s worth leaving your heating on for at least an hour a day. Get a neighbour to check up on your property every few days, and make sure they know where your stopcock is. Make sure to leave the doors open to all the rooms, so that the heat is evenly spread through the house. You’ll also need to check many of the things listed above before you leave.
Heating your home can be a vital part of making sure that your pipes aren’t damaged as well as protecting you from a host of others problems such as damp. Be aware that there are various government schemes that may be able to help with the cost of heating your home.
Cold weather payments may be available to those on low income during spells of exceptionally cold weather. A £100-£300 tax-free payment is sometimes available for older people as part of the winter fuel payments. The Energy Company Obligation and Green Deal could also help you improve the energy efficiency of your home, potentially saving you money in the long term. Some people also qualify for a £135 discount on their electricity bill as part of the Warm Home Discount scheme.
Protecting yourself with insurance
You may want to consider checking your insurance cover or taking out insurance for your home. Although it might not actually protect the house physically, it can provide some financial protection if things do go wrong.