Having just come through Storm Barra, it’s timely to think about protecting your home against freezing temperatures, downpours and snow.
Taking the time to do a few checks can save on costly bills when things go wrong and you are suddenly faced with burst pipes and blocked gutters.
Here are a few ideas to help you through the coming months.
- Check your heating. Check the boiler pressure is suitable. Bleed any air out of radiators if you find the radiators are not heating up. Watch ‘how to’ videos online to see how to bleed and pressurise radiators and top the pressure up. If you are in any doubt contact a local contractor. Also if you have a wireless thermostat, make sure the batteries don’t run out.
- Make sure your gutters are clear. It is always best to check the gutters are clear of debris before we get any bad rain, so that the water can flow easily and not get blocked and overflow. Particularly after a bad storm or high winds as this may have blown debris in which will cause blockages. Also check for any loose pipes, clips or end caps that may have come off. Free flowing gutters will prevent potential leaks into the property or any damp water ingress on walls.
- Ensure any external drains are clear of leaves. With the tree’s shredding their leaves at this time of year it is easy for the drains to become blocked. Check all outside drains to make sure they are free flowing to avoid anything backing up. Most bathroom and kitchen waste pipes lead to external drains and if they get blocked the sinks can back up into the property.
- Make sure windows and doors open and close easily. It might seem odd to check your windows during winter. But you will still want to ventilate the property to allow fresh air in and to release any condensation, which will prevent black mould build up. You will also want to be opening windows and doors when cooking that big Christmas dinner, so make sure you can close the windows and doors now to prevent them getting stuck open and making your house cold. Most common faults are lost keys, loose or broken handles or damaged window hinges that will prevent a window opening or closing properly.
- Draft excluders, if you are finding there is a draft in your property, it could be coming from an external door or internal door. It is really easy to get some adhesive tape from a local DIY shop and stick it to the door frame around the door. It tightens up the gap around the frame and door to stop any draft blowing. This can be done on both internal and external doors. For internal doors there are more aesthetically pleasing draft excluders for the bottom of doors that can be purchased.
If the forecast is looking like we are headed for a big freeze, make sure any external water pipes and taps are suitably insulated. As water freezes it expands and can cause the pipes to burst open. It is rare for pipes inside properties in the South of England to freeze over, but during very cold periods or heavy snowfall it has happened. Portsmouth Water and Southern Water tend to put out advice on how to avoid pipes freezing over the winter.