Regular maintenance of a home makes good economic sense and this is particularly true of that which is done before winter sets in. A few routine checks can prevent the substantial bills that may arise when winter conditions find us totally unprepared.
For those who use wood burners or open fires it is important that chimneys and flues are cleaned and that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are in top working order. It is also essential that every member of a family knows where and how to switch off gas and electricity supplies in the event of an emergency. Ensure that fire extinguishers have not passed their expiry dates and that gauges are at proper operating levels. Boilers and central heating should be serviced by a contractor who is registered to do so.
Ensuring that a home is well insulated not only keeps its inhabitants warm and snug during winter, but it has a significant effect on energy bills. The government’s Green Deal scheme encourages homeowners to insulate their homes in an effort to reduce energy demands. Those who qualify under the scheme will have the cost of insulating roofs and wall cavities added to their energy bill in instalments, but long-term savings on energy could see this eventually pay for itself. In certain cases the replacement of a draughty door may also be covered under the scheme. Draughty windows can be repaired with self-adhesive draught strips.
Ensuring that gutters and drains are free of debris is the best way of eliminating the possibility of costly repairs to pipes. Water that is prevented from flowing freely will quickly freeze and pipes will burst. Drains can be flushed by using a hose, which, if possible, is connected to a hot water supply. This will also get rid of any fatty deposits that may have originated from the kitchen and can cause really stubborn blockages in cold weather.
When blocked gutters result in inadequate drainage of rain and melting snow the resulting backup of water can seep into attics. This eventuality is far more likely if there are broken or missing roof tiles. Dampness in the attic can lead to major problems like timber rot, which will require costly repairs.
Tree-ting a Home
It is always a good idea to trim trees away from the roof and gutters of a home. Besides being a major cause of debris in gutters, branches that become overloaded with snow may also snap and cause damage to roofs and windows. Use some leaves to form a thin covering in flowerbeds to partially protect against cold.
A few simple preventative measures can save homeowners a small fortune by eliminating unnecessary risks that can accompany freezing weather – there’s nothing worse than a leak causing significant damage to a fabric sofa or beloved dining table. A well maintained home also protects a major investment. However, checking that a homeowner’s insurance policy is up-to-date and adequate is still the sensible means of providing for the weather damage that may be brought about by unpredictable and extreme winter conditions.
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This article was produced by Jamie P – a leading interiors and home blogger.