Preparing your Home for the Winter months
Whether you are about to buy a new home, living in an existing home or letting a property, it’s essential to make sure your property is as prepared as possible for the winter months. This means making sure it’s storm proof and watertight, whatever the weather decides to throw at us.
Over the last few months, we have had a pretty dry summer, and according to a Met Office review, 2022 delivered temperatures in excess of 40c for the first time. The most scary impact of this was fires which destroyed around 60 homes in England, of which 41 were lost in London. We know the changes in weather patterns are going to lead to more issues with property, so it’s extra important to know what the impact might be each year.
What can we expect from the winter weather over the next six months?
The Met Office ‘long range forecast’ suggests that from now to December, the good news is they are expecting continued “dry and settled weather with lighter winds”, however, they believe that “rain and stronger winds could still be experienced, especially in the far northwest” while “eastern areas could see a return to wetter conditions, with occasional frost and overnight fog”.
So for now, there aren’t forecasts for large storms or indeed cold nights which could both cause damage to properties, but it’s still better to be prepared – just in case!
However, the likelihood is over the long term although we may get slightly warmer winters, this can mean they get a lot wetter, so it’s essential to make sure your property is as water tight as possible.
What do you need to do to protect your home during the winter months?
For this winter, one of the most important things to do is make sure you can keep your home or your tenant’s rental property warm enough to avoid damp and mould which can not only damage and devalue a property but also impact negatively on people’s health, typically as a result of allergic reactions which can enhance respiratory problems.
So, it’s important to ensure you or your tenant can afford to heat your home enough to avoid mould and damp developing, and to do this ideally you need to keep your home heated between 18 to 21 degrees. If you currently heat your home at the higher end of this and need to save some money, turning your thermostat down by just 1 degree could save you up to £145 per year.
Another way of ensuring you keep warm air in your home rather than let cold air in is to check whether there are any drafts from windows and doors. These can easily be eliminated using draft excluders or even hanging a thick curtain over a ‘leaky door’ can make a difference.
For tenants, although you may not be able to make as many changes as homeowners, it’s still possible to help improve the warmth of your home over the winter period with this helpful advice from smartenergygb.org. They have lots of ways you can save money this year with minimal help from landlords and little cost to renters.
Ensuring your property is waterproof
Making sure your property is getting rid of excess water effectively is vital when it’s wet. Next time it’s raining, do check the guttering is working OK and make sure there aren’t any gaps that can cause leaks and result in damp in the property. Check too that when the water goes through the drainpipes it also drains away effectively. This can mean just keeping leaves and other winter debris from covering over them.
Next check for gaps in roof tiles. Just pop your head into the loft space to see if there is any daylight coming through. Have a look from the outside to see if you have any cracked tiles which could also cause leaks and damp.
Finally, make sure all your pipes and any water tanks are lagged. Burst pipes are a particular problem when it suddenly gets cold, so making sure they are always protected can save a horrible experience on a cold day and help ensure you don’t have to make an insurance claim.
Making sure your property will survive a storm
There are lots of easy ways to help ensure your property will survive a storm. Just tidying up and putting anything away in the garden that could cause damage if it hits your property during a windy day or night can save you time and money. Making sure all roof tiles are fit for purpose so they don’t go flying off in a strong wind. Finally, check if your property is liable to any flooding – you can get flood alerts for free by signing up here and if you are not sure your property is in a flood risk area, check here. Remember, even if you have lived there for some time, more areas are experiencing flooding, so it’s worth double checking for any changes.
If you are worried about whether your home can survive a storm or wet weather, do chat to your local Scottfraser office. They can help put you in touch with our insurance partner Bode who can protect your property should things go wrong. If we fully manage your let property, we will always do regular checks to make sure your property is legally and safely let and if you would like to find out more about this service, do contact us, our local experts would be happy to help.
Leaders Limited T/A Scottfraser is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Bode Insurance Solutions (company no 03101637) Registered Address: Crowthorne House, Nine Mile Ride, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG40 3GZ. Bode Insurance Services Limited are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under firm reference 313541. You may check this on the Financial Services Register by visiting the FCA’s website https://register.fca.org.uk/s/ or by contacting the FCA on 0800 11 6768.
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