Give your home the winter MOT
27 December 2012
It is fundamental to look after your property during the winter season to look after your property especially if you are going away. Help prevent winter damage to your property by taking simple precautions.
Drains and gutters:
If you cannot do it yourself, bring in a maintenance officer to check your drains and gutters. Clearing your drains and gutters from debris and possibly frozen water will prevent them from breaking and causing considerable damage to your plumbing system. Last year according to the AA, many homes suffered damage from gutters breaking and falling because they are full with debris and blocked water.– so if a car is parked below on the driveway this can significantly increase the damage cost.. It is advised that you trim any overhanging branches from trees and shrubs, just by doing this you can considerably reduce the risk of a preventable yet costly accident.
Boiler and heating:
Your boiler should be serviced regularly by an energy company. Take a look at the Which? guide to boiler checklists and recommended service providers locally to you.If you are away from home during the winter season, turn your thermostat to a minimum of 13-15 degrees to help stop the water in the pipes from freezing. Alternatively you can drain the water from all pipes through the use of a stopcock.
In the UK many houses may have water tanks and pipe work in the loft. It is essential to check the insulations on your pipes and water tanks. This can save you money on your energy bills, as it stops the heat from escaping from the pipes and therefore uses less energy to heat your property.
According to direct.gov.uk by insulating or lagging your water tank and pipes, you could save £45 on average a year whilst the cost of insulating is roughly £120.
Tighten any dripping taps. As minor of a task this is, dripping taps are a common case of burst water pipes.
It is important to check if the stopcock turns smoothly as it prevents cold water running through the pipes. A stopcock is a valve, normally found under the sink however it may be located in a hallway cupboard or outside by the water meter reader. If you are leaving your home for long period of time it is recommended that you drain the excess water from the pipes as this will prevent the water from freezing the pipes. To drain the water just run the taps and flush the toilets until there is no running water left.
Additional note: If you are going away for an extended amount of time, it may be a good idea to ask a neighbour, family or friend to check your property every now and again.
From January 2013 the 3 leading energy providers will be increasing prices which will considerably increase your energy bills. Put tools in place to help you reduce and understand your energy bill, you can check our guide for energy options.