As winter starts to bite, it's important to take preventative measures to keep your house safe and sound.
Winter weathering can leave your brickwork worn and exposed, so try to seal all vulnerable areas before frost and snow takes a grip.
Check the roof from ground level for any potential problem signs like loose or missing tiles. Then examine exterior walls for cracked, loose or missing pointing or rendering. If you find any, have them repaired before water can get in.
As heat rises it’s a good idea to check the loft to see whether you need to add further insulation. Also, lagging pipes and water tanks will prevent heat escaping and reduce the risk of damaging ice forming.
Check all locks are secure and in good working order to prevent gates from swinging open and causing damage in blustery weather. Applying a drop of oil will help to stop hinges and bolts from seizing too.
Most power cuts happen in winter. So, in the event of one occurring in the dark, having a torch, candles and matches in an easy-to-reach place will make it so much easier to deal with.
Bleeding radiators is one of the easiest ways to improve the efficiency of your heating. It’s also a good idea to have your boiler serviced by a registered engineer to ensure it’s ready for the winter.
Clearing out any leaves and debris that could cause a blockage ensures that rain and melting snow will be able to flow away from your home. If you have to climb a ladder, make sure there’s someone to hold it steady.
Faulty seals around windows and doors allow warm air to escape and cold air to get in. Blocking these draughts can make a big difference, while using a draught excluder at the bottom of doors is also an effective measure.
No matter where you’re heading off to for your break, make sure you can relax secure in the knowledge that your home is safe and sound without you.
If possible, get someone to visit the house every day and pick up your mail. An alternative is to take advantage of Royal Mail’s Keepsafe™ service which will hold your mail and parcels for up to 66 days, then deliver them once you’re home again.
Time switches can help give the lived-in look. You can also ask someone to put the bins out and/or park in your drive. Remember to cancel any regular deliveries!
With the excitement and stress of getting out the door, it’s easy to forget to lock everything. Leave plenty of time to make sure the windows and doors are all locked and secure, there are no keys left in them.
To prevent you worrying about leaving anything on while you’re away, take time to make a trip round the house and unplug all relevant electrical items.
Security lighting and cameras around your home can make it more secure, not only while you’re on holiday.
Without going to the extent of keeping it a secret, try not to publicise your holiday on social media, as it can be viewed by many – and some may not be “friends. On social media it’s easy to deduce where you live and how long you are away for. Also – don’t leave a message on your answering machine saying you’re away, or disclose details to your taxi driver that may be passed on.