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WINTER TIPS – A ‘Top to Bottom’ household review

  •  Check your home insurance policy

 There is no better time to review your current policy. Talk to your adviser today and make sure that you know what you are covered for and whether that cover is adequate for both the house and your valuables.

 If you haven’t already, consider adding Home Emergency cover to your home insurance policy in preparation for any household emergencies.

 Check your home with our ‘Top to Bottom’ guide -

  •  Check your roof

 We have had some pretty wet and windy weather already this year and it can’t have escaped your notice that the weather is becoming more unpredictable. While you can do a visual inspection from ground level, it is advisable to have a professional check your roof for any signs of damage such as missing tiles. At the same time have the chimney stack checked, particularly the flashings to ensure that water is not getting into the roof space. 

  • Gutters

 Gutters can become blocked and if they do, it is easy for trapped water to turn to ice in cold weather and create extra weight which can bring down gutters and in turn cause damage to external brickwork.

  • Time for a loft inspection

If the last time you were in the loft to put away your summer luggage, while you might be thinking of finding the Christmas decorations, take a little time to see if you can see any obvious signs of daylight in the roof, which would tell you that a roof inspection for tile damage is not just an option . Also take a look at your insulation in the roof space. Is it still fit for purpose? Heating bills can be significantly reduced with comprehensive roof space insulation.

  • Header tanks and pipework

The loft also can contain a water header tank depending on your heating system and will certainly have pipework. Insulation is a must, particularly if the water freezes and adds pressure on the tank itself, which could lead to leaks. Pipework needs to be adequately insulated. Check it anyway, it is easy to miss where insultation has been disturbed while moving items in the loft.

  • Boiler

As we enter the winter months, where our need for heat and hot water is going to be at its height, arrange for a boiler service as a priority. Better warm than cold!

  • Find your stopcock

Make sure you know where your stopcock is. In the event of a water leak, knowing where it is will mean less damage to your property and its contents. Also ensure that every family member is aware. Check that the stopcock is not stiff to turn. A little lubrication and turning it on and off will make sure that it is ready, should the worst happen.

  • Open fires and woodburners

We all love an open fire, but don’t forget that your chimney deserves a thorough clean, particularly if a fire has not been lit since earlier in the year. Soot and blockages can have a detrimental effect on the ventilation of your room, as well as running the risk of old soot being dislodged and making your living space unusable.

  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Check your detectors work. Whatever happens, if you can’t remember when you last changed the batteries – change them anyway.

  • Home Emergency Kit

Last but not least, put together a home emergency kit to keep to hand. Items should include:

- Portable mobile phone chargers
- Money
- A torch
- Bottled water and canned food
- Blankets and waterproof clothing
- A list of local emergency numbers
- Your insurance details
- A first aid kit

  • Travelling at Christmas?

Remember if your home is going to be empty for a reasonable period over the winter/Christmas period, consider leaving the heating on to prevent your pipes from freezing and risking a burst. Similarly, if you are a Landlord with an unoccupied property your policy may also have specific terms which mean you need to maintain the property at a certain temperature or you may not be covered for escape of water claims.