As Autumn blows in, it’s time to prepare the home for the cold unpredictable weather and the long darker evenings. There are some important things to do and a lot of practical things you can accomplish to ensure that your home is both leak proof, safe and protected this winter.
1. Make sure that your home insurance is up to date and covers all the necessary problems and issues that may occur.
2. Don’t get caught without hot water or heating! There are a few simple checks you can carry out: Check and test the central heating. Does the boiler work properly, is the pilot light lit? Also, check the hot water thermostat is on, and set high enough. It’s always prudent to have gas appliances inspected by a professional each year. Always ensure that any professional is on the Gas Safe Register and has the credentials (ID) to prove it.
3. You should consider installing a carbon monoxide monitor near any solid fuel appliance such as boilers and gas cookers. They are inexpensive and can be bought from any reputable DIY store. In any letting properties these are compulsory in any room that has a Gas Fuel Appliance. It’s the Law! If your Landlord has not installed any, insist that they do so immediately!
4. If you haven’t already checked your insulation is intact in the attic do so. Make sure your roof is free from leaks and is well ventilated.
5. If you have an open fire or wood burner have your chimney swept as birds have a nasty habit of nesting there in the warmer months.
6. Ensure that you know where the stopcock is in case of a burst pipe emergency.
7. Have a power cut pack ready just in case. Include batteries, torches, candles and matches and put it in an easily accessible place that you’ll remember!
8. Make sure your guttering is free from debris and prune back any bushes or trees that are over-hanging and could clog them up again.
9. Divert drainpipes into a water bowser, ready for watering your spring plantings.
10. Have a small supply of salt or grit available for those frosty mornings and icy pathways. A great alternative is cat litter, it works just as well and won’t kill your plants.
11. Wrap up garden furniture under plastic sheeting if possible, better still if you have the space store it away in the garage or garden shed.
12. Check on any neighbours who are elderly or housebound, they’d appreciate your help and your time.
13. Rake any fallen leaves up and then go over them with a lawn mower, this creates leaf mulch which can be used to protect your flower beds from frost.
14. Stock up on firewood for those cosy nights in.
15. Bleed your radiators to reduce any risk of air pockets.
16. Sweep down and clean your patio and pathways.
17. Wrap up your pot plants in fleece and bubble wrap to protect them from frost. Store them away in a green house, shed or garage.
18. Test your smoke alarms.
19. Check for loose roof tiles.
20. Remember to stock your car with breakdown emergency kit. Extra blanket, ice-scraper and de-icer, torch with spare batteries, in case your phone is running low on charge, high visability jacket and possibly a shovel, you never know!
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