Crisp autumn walks, golden leaves and misty mornings can soon turn into a winter of discontent, especially if you haven’t got your property ready for a change in the climate. With the UK more susceptible to extreme weather conditions, it’s prudent to get your property ready for winter. Here are 6 top tips for keeping your home safe and secure as the seasons change, brought to you by Surrey estate agents, Grosvenor Billinghurst.
1. Get your chimney swept: if you have a wood-burning stove or open fireplace, it’s essential to get your chimney swept on an annual basis and late autumn is a good time to book a sweep. Failure to do so may cause a chimney fire, which can destroy entire properties. Gas and oil chimneys should also be swept.
2. Service your boiler: don’t wait until the first frost of the winter season to discover there is something wrong with your central heating. Book a service before the temperature really drops and also request a pipe and radiator health check at the same time.
3. Clear the gutters: fallen leaves and other debris will quickly accumulate in gutters during autumn. It’s this matter that can quickly block a downpipe, causing real damage and flooding if there’s heavy or prolonged rain.
4. Check insulation: there are a number of places where insulation is essential. Good loft insulation will help retain heat and keep energy bills under control, while insulation around pipes can stop them from freezing and bursting in sub-zero temperatures. Don't forget to insulate any water tanks and cisterns, and protect any outside taps too.
5. Prepare a stand-by kit: power cuts are often a by-product of high winds or inclement weather, and a burst pipe may force you to shut off your water supply (it’s good to remind yourself where the stopcocks are in your property for both gas and water). A stand-by kit could contain candles and matches, bottled water, a wind-up torch, a camping stove with gas and a fully charged power pack.
6. Double-check your roof: winter storms will quickly lift off loose tiles so check the condition of your roof and replace missing or damaged tiles as a matter of urgency. This will prevent leaks that, left unchecked, can quickly escalate into a major issue.