Winter-proof your home

EBS has issued tips for homeowners on how to avoid expensive home repair bills by being ready for the elements this winter, to coincide with its three months’ free home insurance offer.

The EBS ‘winter proof’ checklist deals with the most common dangers associated with the onset of winter such as safeguarding a home against cold, flooding, and storms. EBS is encouraging people to avoid a great deal of expense this winter by being prepared for whatever the weather may bring.

Winter proof tips

Protecting your home against the cold:

• Are your pipes and water tanks properly lagged? If not, consult with a plumber and have your water system properly lagged.

• Are your taps all closed tightly? Do they drip? Ensure that dripping taps are fixed by a plumber before the winter cold sets in.

• Do you know where your mains water stop valve/stopcock is? Locate your mains water stop valve/stopcock; it is usually under the kitchen sink.

• Are you sure your mains water stop valve (stopcock ) works properly? If it does not work properly, it needs to be fixed by a plumber.

• Do you have a light in your attic? It is essential to install a light in your attic so that you can make safety checks on all pipes and tanks.

• Do you set your heating to come on during the night? Setting your heating at regular intervals will maintain a level of heat throughout the house.

• Do you leave your heating on when your house is unoccupied? When your property is unoccupied leave heating on at regular intervals to maintain the level of heat.

Protecting your home against flooding:

• Are your gutters clean? Clean gutters annually as flooded gutter water can get in under the eaves of your house and rot timber.

• Are your drains clear? Clean drains to avoid flash flooding in the event of heavy rainfall.

• Are your roof slates/tiles secure? Have these checked regularly, particularly after storms or heavy rain.

• If flooding is likely, is your property at risk? If yes, move any valuable belongings upstairs, block doorways with sandbags, lock away valuables if you have to vacate your home, and switch off the electrical supply to avoid electric shock.

Protecting your home against storms:

• Are your roof slates/tiles, gutters, aerials and satellite dishes secure? Make sure roofs and their attachments are checked regularly, particularly after storms or heavy rain.

• Are all large trees close to your/your neighbours’ property maintained, that is, branches trimmed and checked for rot or decay? Have these checked regularly so that trees do not pose a danger to property or to electrical lines

• If a storm is forecast, are you prepared for a storm? Secure all doors, gates and windows. Put away unsecured items that are in your garden. Keep pets indoors. Check torches and batteries are working. Never leave lit candles unattended.

Ensure your home is properly insulated:

• Seal the window and door jams. Check for leaks around the doors and windows. According to experts, leaky windows and doors can increase heating bills by at least 10 to 15 per cent. You can check for leaks simply by holding the back of your hand to the cracks around your doors and windows. Since the back of your hand is more sensitive, you will be able to easily tell if air is coming in.

• Inspect and seal ductwork. Your ductwork can also be a source of low energy efficiency in your home, which can really rear its head during the winter. Leaky ductwork can make heat flow into the attic, which is waste of heat and your money. The seals on ductwork can be worn down over time, so it is a good idea to test out this system in your home. The minor cost associated with sealing ductwork is negligible when compared to the money you will save on your heating bills.

Check out SEI.ie for more tips on how to insulate your home

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