Why it pays to get your prop­erty pro­tected for win­ter

To avoid un­wanted bills, it’s time to pro­tect your house and wrap it up from the worst rav­ages of the com­ing months. Sharon Dale re­ports

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

THERE’S noth­ing like an icy blast to make you wish you’d tack­led all those jobs on your do­mes­tic “to do” list.

By that time it could be too late and ba­sic main­te­nance could eas­ily have turned into an ex­pen­sive re­pair or ex­tor­tion­ate heat­ing bills.

Those blocked gut­ters could’ve dam­aged the fab­ric of your prop­erty and caused damp, ditto that re-point­ing and the loose slate you didn’t get round to.

And it’s easy to for­get about in­su­la­tion when you haven’t used the cen­tral heat­ing for a few months.

Now is the time for ac­tion and to re­mem­ber that pro­tect­ing your prop­erty and mak­ing it more en­ergy ef­fi­cient re­ally does pay.

Those who think that their in­sur­ance com­pany will cough up for any win­ter dam­age may be dis­ap­pointed.

M&S Money fig­ures re­vealed a 200 per cent rise in the num­ber of home in­sur­ance claims caused by win­try weather over the last three years and some were classed as in­valid thanks to a lack of ba­sic main­te­nance.

The re­search says that the most com­mon dam­age dur­ing the win­ter sea­son is caused by wind.

Burst pipes have be­come an in­creas­ingly com­mon prob­lem due to the harsh­ness of the last cou­ple of win­ters, while chim­ney fires are also a reg­u­lar oc­cur­rence.

The So­ci­ety of the Pro­tec­tion of An­cient Build­ings is press­ing home an age old mes­sage.

Back in 1877 one of the clar­ion calls of SPAB founder Wil­liam Mor­ris was: “Put pro­tec­tion in place of restora­tion. Stave off de­cay by daily care.”

That sim­ple mes­sage is as rel­e­vant to­day as it was 135 years ago. Win­terise your Home: Tips Check your roof for loose or miss­ing tiles and re­place any dam­aged or cracked ones.

Have your gut­ters checked and cleared. Also make sure they are fixed se­curely, oth­er­wise, they may not be able to with­stand the weight of ice and snow dur­ing the win­ter.

Look for blocked down­pipes and check ground level gul­lies and drains to make sure they are clear of de­bris. Use a hand mir­ror to look be­hind rain­wa­ter pipes as splits and cracks in old cast iron and alu­minium of­ten oc­cur here and are not eas­ily no­ticed.

In­su­late any ex­ter­nal pipes and turn off any wa­ter sup­ply to the gar­den as this will help to pre­vent bursts.

En­sure any wa­ter pipes in your loft are lagged. If you are go­ing away in win­ter, it is worth con­sid­er­ing leav­ing any loft ac­cess open to let warm air rise and pre­vent your wa­ter tank from freez­ing.

Have your boiler ser­viced. It will be more ef­fi­cient and your plumber can also add anti-freeze to your cen­tral heat­ing sys­tem or fit a frost ther­mo­stat, which will turn on the boiler when­ever the tem­per­a­ture falls be­low a min­i­mum level.

Check paving and drive­ways for cracks and re­pair to avoid frost caus­ing even more dam­age.

Check fenc­ing pan­els and posts are in good con­di­tion and have been treated with a wood pre­serve.

Re­pair point­ing and ren­der­ing on walls as this will al­low wa­ter in the joints which may cause more dam­age should it freeze. It will also cause damp.

In­vest in some WD40 and give locks on sheds a spray to stop them from seiz­ing up. Save en­ergy. Start by adding up how much your home cost to run last win­ter as this will give you the in­cen­tive to im­prove its per­for­mance.

Start by check­ing in­su­la­tion. If you haven’t got it then there are lots of in­cen­tives and cheap deals. Check the En­ergy Sav­ing Trust web­site, www.en­er­gysav­ingtrust. org.uk, tel: 0300 123 1234 for de­tails and ad­vice.

In­su­lat­ing your loft to the rec­om­mended depth of 270mm is one of the most ef­fec­tive ways to save en­ergy and could save you be­tween £180 and £220 per year.

Make sure you have the right in­su­la­tion for your prop­erty, es­pe­cially if it is an old build­ing and re­mem­ber not to block or im­pede ven­ti­la­tion as this can lead to prob­lems in­clud­ing con­den­sa­tion and black mould. Re­move mois­ture from bath­rooms and kitchens be­fore it cir­cu­lates and con­denses by fit­ting ex­trac­tor fans.

Plug draughty gaps and doors and win­dows. Around 20 per cent of heat in the av­er­age home is lost through draughts and un­sealed gaps, which al­low warm air to es­cape. In­vest in draugh­tex­clud­ers for doors, win­dows and let­ter­boxes. You can ap­ply a cheap, easy-to-fix brush or PVC seal on ex­te­rior doors and let­ter­boxes. Bead­ing and sealant can also be used to pre­vent draughts through gaps in floor­boards and skirt­ing boards.

In­vest in an en­ergy-ef­fi­cient boiler. Heat­ing and hot wa­ter ac­count for about 60 per cent of the av­er­age fuel bill. In­stalling a high-ef­fi­ciency con­dens­ing boiler can save around a third on en­ergy bills. Your boiler might not be bro­ken, but if it’s more than 15 years old, it’s prob­a­bly time to re­place it.

Also look into putting ther­mostats on ra­di­a­tors if you don’t have them al­ready. They al­low you to heat only the rooms you are us­ing.

VIL­LAGE CEN­TRE: The Old Hall has been treated to a full ren­o­va­tion, which means it has char­ac­ter and mod cons. The house is tucked away in the cen­tre of Grass­ing­ton close to the vil­lage shops and eater­ies and comes with its own Bi­ble which is passed on to ev­ery new owner.

DON’T GET CAUGHT OUT: Act to pro­tect your prop­erty be­fore it’s too late. The icy winds will be blow­ing soon and pipes will need lag­ging.

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