Friday, 23 November 2012

UK home owners: Give your home a Winter Health Check now!


Property owners in the UK are being urged to give their homes a ‘winter health check’ ahead of the harsh winter expected this year. During the colder months, it is common for people to retreat indoors, paying much less attention to the exterior and vital functionality features of a property - that must be maintained.
Many companies that offer property insurance are trying to get home-owners to give their property a thorough essential check, as preparation is considered to be the key to prevention. Home insurance sees thousands of claims each year with problems regarding burst and freezing pipes – averaging £1,500 per incident. Other popular issues regarding property include wind storm damages, which also cost a significant amount of money to repair.

If home-owners spend a small amount of time ensuring that their property is suitably prepared for the upcoming harsh winter, they can avoid unnecessary problems that can put a dampener on any household, especially around Christmas and New Year – which is the last thing anybody wants!

How to prepare and what to check?

Home-owners are being urged to make general checks of the home on all of the essential features that must be in good working order for a warm, happy and comfortable household during winter.

OUTSIDE CHECKS:
  • Condition of the roof:  Look for cracked or broken tiles, crack in the chimney or problems with the mortar.
  • Functionality of the gutters and drain pipes: Remove any debris or leaves that have built up to reduce the chance of overflow, blocks and flooding.
  • Gates and outbuilding doors should be closed properly: These can be torn off during high wind speeds.
  • External light fittings should be securely fitted: This will help avoid the risk of damaged bulbs and broken glass.
  • Cut back low hanging branches: These have been known to cause serious problems for home-owners  as they can be blow off and onto something of high value – e.g. Car. Cutting back those risky branches can save you some serious time and money.

INDOOR CHECKS:

  • Boiler checks: It is always suggested that heating boilers should be serviced at least once a year by a GasSafe registered professional and have central heating and gas fire systems checked, to make sure that they are working safely and effectively.
  • Loft checks: The loft should be checked for adequate insulation, but also ventilation.  Should home owners employ thicker curtains and keep central heating set to at least 10 degrees, they will maintain a warm home with extremely lower risk of experiencing frozen pipes.
  • Windows: These can be draught proofed to avoid rattles in the wine, leaks during rain and keep the heat indoors. Specialist window companies can replace old frames with new ones that are designed to keep all heat in and rain/wind out.

OTHER PREPARATIONS:

You should make sure you have an emergency kit prepared which is easy to access within your home. Should a severe snowstorm strike, you don’t know what could happen, so having torches, spare bulbs, batteries, insurance documents, emergency contact details, tinned food, warm clothing, blankets and a shovel is important.

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