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Eight simple steps to keep your home safe from winter.

The winter is coming and the nights are drawing in and you can bet your last pound that at some stage there’s going to be a cold snap.

The sub-zero temperatures will bring with them many dangers  - not only on the roads and pavements but also in the heart of your home. A high proportion of property claims are made during winter because of burst pipes every winter. As we all know water expands when it freezes and so can rupture the pipes – just waiting for the thaw and an escape into your home. 

And the very last thing you want is to return from a seasonal break and find your sitting room ceiling where the floor used to be and all your furniture a mulchy, damp mess. And that will surely ruin your holiday.
So it makes sense to go through a simple check-list to ensure there is no winter heartbreak.

• Know where your water stopcock (shut-off valve) is and know how to turn it off and on. 
Leacking roof saver pic
• Fix any dripping taps in your home, to prevent water from freezing.

• Make sure that any pipes and tanks that may freeze are lagged:
Lag the outlet pipe if you have a condensing boiler and make sure you get it serviced by a professional before the cold weather sets in; Lag outside water taps to prevent them from freezing and pipes bursting; Lag pipes in the loft and check that the top and sides of the header and water tanks are insulated.

• Feel the pipes under the sink to make sure they are sound and not already leaking.

• Clean out the guttering and check for any leaks or damage before the icy cold weather kicks in.

• If you are going away for a few days or more, check the forecasts and if there’s any chance of temperatures falling, leave the heating on at a constant low of at least 15°C or set it to come on at least an hour a day and/or turn your water off at the main stopcock, so if pipes do burst the water doesn’t just flow and flow. You should also open your loft trap door if it is very cold and ask a friend or relative to check on your house whilst you are away, just in case a pipe does burst.

• To thaw frozen pipes you can turn your water off at the main stopcock and thaw them with a hairdryer or hot water bottle.

• Always keep a list of contact numbers to hand including your insurance broker and claims contact numbers so you know who to call in an emergency. Should an incident take place you should contact your insurer as soon as possible.

By Steve McDowell

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Surrey KT17 4NL
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