- Get your DIY toolkit out and make some small repairs now to prevent expensive damage to your home
- Keep up to date with cold weather alerts from the Met Office and take action before the snow and frost hits
- According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the insurance industry pays out £2.5m every day* to customers for escape of water home insurance claims, caused, in part, by frozen or burst pipes
Winter weather can cause havoc to your home.
Overhanging tree branches can break in storms, or become laden with snow and threaten to damage your roof, windows and guttering. Loose roof tiles will cost you money from lost heat, as well as let in rain, debris and even animals or birds. Icy temperatures can cause your water pipes to freeze, and in some cases burst.
Between the 1st November and 31st March each year, the Met Office offer a Cold Weather Alert Service giving you advanced warning of adverse weather conditions.
Before any cold weather blows in, there are some simple tasks you can do yourself to protect your home against the elements.
1. Get in the garden
Spend some time chopping down any low-hanging tree branches and cutting back overgrown hedges. This will reduce the amount of dead foliage clogging up your gutters and prevent damage from snow that might build up on the branches.
2. Clear gutters
Clear guttering and drainpipes to prevent blockages caused by leaves and moss that could, in turn, cause water to back up. It’s important to keep on top of this as you don’t want water leaking into the roof and down the walls of the house.
3. Fix your roof
On a dry day, replace any cracked or missing roof tiles. You could also check that any TV aerials or satellite dishes are firmly secured before the bad weather sets in.
4. Prevent your pipes from freezing
One of the most costly but easily prevented problems during winter months is freezing and bursting pipes. When water pipes run through a part of the house that isn’t heated, the low temperatures cause the water inside to turn to ice.
When water in a pipe freezes, it expands and puts tremendous pressure on both metal and plastic pipes. If the pipe breaks, it can release a torrent of water into your home. To help prevent this, insulate your loft, the sides of your water tank and all pipes with good quality insulation (“lagging”). Read more hints and tips about preventing frozen pipes.
Giving your home this simple once-over can really help to minimise any problems once the weather’s turned. It’s worthwhile checking what is and isn’t covered by your home insurance policy – and finding out whether you have a home emergency service included in your cover.