Autumn is finally upon us and there is no doubt that winter will soon be on its way. Now is the best time to prepare your home for the cold weather.
Last December’s freezing conditions resulted in 100,000 claims * for burst pipes and insurers dealt with £900m worth of property claims during December alone .In order to protect your home during cold and freezing conditions, we recommend:
• Insulating loft pipes - lag with felt or pipe-wrap and cover with a waterproof material (insulation is reduced if lagging gets wet). Insulate the top, rather than bottom of the pipe. If lagged below it will prevent heat rising. Pay particular attention to lagging pipes in lofts with improved insulation as they will not benefit from rising heat.
• Insulating the water tank - protect with either a pre-formed insulation kit or polythene bags filled with glass wool or some other loose insulation filling (available from most DIY stores). Don’t lag below the tank as it stops heat radiating from the rooms below. Ensure the tank has a rigid lid which is strong enough to carry insulation – do not replace lid with insulation material as it could break up and fall into your water. Similarly, remove any carpet or furnishings that may be covering the tank, they’re useless insulators and could drop into the water and cause contamination.
• Leaving the loft hatch open – this’ll allow warm air to circulate. If you are away from your property during cold weather then we suggest the following additional precautions:
• Leave the central heating running at a constant temperature – usually around 15 degrees centigrade (58 Fahrenheit).
• Ask a neighbour to check on your property and leave a contact number in case of emergencies.
Going away for a winter break? Make sure your home is safe and secure.
Doors and Windows
Take some time to check out the locks you have in your home.
We recommend that the lock on the main door has a British Standard 3621 mark. Otherwise, make sure it is a mortice deadlock of at least five levers or any rim automatic dead latch with a key locking handle on the inside.
For any other external doors, they should either be to the above standard, or have a lock and key operated security bolts fitted at the top and bottom. For sliding patio doors, key operated patio doors mounted internally on the centre rails are also adequate. Opening windows on the ground floor, basement and accessible upper floor windows should be fitted with key operated security devices or shutters securely locked internally.
Most burglars look for easy targets – so if they see an opportunity they are more tempted to break in.
To reduce your chances of theft:
• Check around your house for security weak spots such as concealed entrances, poor lighting or doors and windows that can be opened from the outside.
• Lock away garden tools and ladders that could help a thief break in, and lock sheds and garages too, especially if they adjoin your home.
• Photograph any valuable items, and if possible security mark them with your postcode and house number.
• Never leave keys in a lock, or a ‘secret’ hiding place like under the mat – burglars know them all!
• Trim garden hedges so that doors and windows can be seen and no-one can hide.
• Always lock your shed or garage – especially if it has a connecting door to your house.
* Association of British Insurers, burst pipe and property claims – December 2010.