12 easy ways to prepare your home for winter


As the temperature drops and the nights draw in, it’s worth taking a few steps to prepare your home inside and
out. We see a significant increase in Escape of Water claims over the autumn and winter months, and
the scale and severity of those claims is much higher too - often the result of burst pipes, packed-up boilers or
leaking roofs. More damage, much more hassle - all at the worst time of the year for it to happen! So to stop you
becoming a statistic, we’ve compiled this handy list of tips to help you keep the coming months cosy and warm -
not calamitous and worrisome!

  1. Check your roof from the ground for slipped, damaged or missing tiles. If you have a flat roof on any part of your house, you should clear any fallen leaves to prevent water from sitting. This can be a real problem later in the year when temperatures turn freezing…
  2. Check your exterior walls and driveway for cracks and repair where necessary, as all that incoming rain could get in, causing damage to worsen.
  3. Test and service your heating now, before you really need it – and before a cold snap makes finding an available emergency plumber almost impossible! Consider adding Home Emergency Cover to your policy to give you protection in the event of an emergency.
  4. Program your thermostat and use/install thermostatic controls on each radiator to suit your routine - saving energy, money and the environment. If you’re going away for a while, leave your heating on low to avoid your pipes freezing in extreme weather.

    If you’re planning to escape it all on a long cruise or ski trip this season, please let us know if your home will be unoccupied for more than 30 consecutive days - as this could affect your cover.

  5. All radiators need bleeding occasionally, particularly after long periods of disuse. Do this with your heating off, starting at the bottom of your house with the radiator furthest away from your boiler.
  6. You can increase heating efficiency by blocking up draughts, insulating exposed heating pipes and using reflective foil behind radiators that sit on exterior walls. However, be sure to leave enough ventilation and allow fresh air into the house regularly to avoid excessive condensation and potential damp issues.
  7. If you have a fireplace, check your chimney now before it’s in regular use. Look up the chimney with a torch and call a professional if you see deposits thicker than about 3mm on the sides. This goes for gas as well as wood fires and burners.
  8. More fires, candles and Bonfire Night fireworks contribute to increased fire risks - so this is a good time to check your smoke alarms and also carbon monoxide detectors.
  9. Stay ahead of the game and check your winter gear now before you need it in a hurry – spades, anti-freeze and de-icer for your car, a bag of salt for icy driveways.
  10. Clear the gutters. It’s essential for excess rainwater to flow away from your house, not down walls as this can cause both surface damage and costly damp issues.
  11. While you’re out there… prepare your garden for strong winds and rain by covering or putting away furniture (tie down the trampoline if you have one!), cutting back any damaged or overhanging branches, securing fences and touching up weatherproof paintwork on outdoor structures like your shed.
  12. And if you spent the summer battling the heat and keeping your grass in good nick, don’t let the cold weather undo it all - use winter fertiliser and over-seed to help your lawn survive.

Right, now back inside for that cup of pumpkin-spiced hot chocolate on the sofa…!


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