Useful tricks to avoid getting spooked by winter weather’s nasty surprises

PUBLISHED: 10:24 28 October 2015 | UPDATED: 10:24 28 October 2015

Poplars in Stevenage. Credit: Terry Reed

Poplars in Stevenage. Credit: Terry Reed

Archant

With most of us now noticing an early morning nip in the air and the nights pulling more tightly in – falling leaves and pumpkins are not sole evidence that the seasons are changing. Although the days remain mild for the time being, the coming weeks are almost certain to bring with them colder temperatures and, eventually, the onslaught of winter.

Estate agents Harrison Murray and the Nottingham Estate Agency (both part of the Nottingham Building Society) have some seasonal advice to help people protect their homes and limit the damage while the weather is still reasonably good.

Head of Estate Agency Su Snaith said: “At the moment, many of us are still enjoying some relatively mild days, when the heating doesn’t need to be cranked up and car windscreens remain frost free.

“However, as we head towards winter over the next few weeks, it is advisable that home owners to take the necessary steps, or at least have the information at hand, to protect their property, especially if it is going to be left empty at some point over the winter.”

- Keep the central heating set to a minimum of 10-12 degrees. If you go away or your property is empty, leave the heating on low as this will keep the water circulating and also help prevent your pipes from freezing. Also, a warm home makes it more appealing to a potential buyer.

- Remove a square of loft insulation in the area underneath the cold water tank so heat can penetrate the ceiling and prevent it from freezing. In addition, if you are going away for the weekend, open the loft door to allow circulation of heat to prevent freezing.

- Consider turning off the water at the stopcock and draining down the system if you are away for a longer period.

- Make sure you know that your insurance documents are kept a safe place, and that you can easily find them in an emergency.

- If you find your pipes have burst, turn off water at the stopcock and do not use toilet/shower/basin/bath if there is a possibility one of them is the source of the leak.

- When high winds are forecast, remember that some everyday items in the garden can become ‘missiles’. Most winters we see pictures of airborne trampolines and garden furniture. Before it gets windy it’s also worth checking for loose tiles, slates and flashing and consider removing dead branches from old trees.

- In severe weather you may be making use of fires and candles for warmth, ambience, or in the event of power cuts, for light. To stay safe using fire, ensure that you have a smoke alarm on every level of your home and that you test it regularly.

- If you have an open fire; sweep your chimney, use a fireguard and make sure the fire is put out properly before you leave the room. Also, keep electric heaters away from curtains and furniture.

- Stay weather wise – and use your tablet or phone to keep up to date on weather alerts – as the weather could change from a previous forecast and catch us off guard.

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