Wrap­ping up your home for win­ter will pay off

With a hard win­ter pre­dicted, it pays to pro­tect your home from the worst rav­ages the Bri­tish weather can throw at it.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

AN­OTHER harsh win­ter is forecast and the Royal In­sti­tu­tion of Char­tered Sur­vey­ors (RICS) is urg­ing homeowners to pre­pare their prop­erty for the on­slaught.

Homes are vul­ner­a­ble to at­tack both from the out­side el­e­ments and the moist, warm con­di­tions that build-up in­side dur­ing cold weather.

Char­ters-Reid Sur­vey­ors says: “A win­ter prop­erty au­dit is ad­vis­able. Look at the roof, walls, floors, win­dows and doors and then re­pair, seal or in­su­late where ever pos­si­ble.”

Sains­bury’s home in­surance also rec­om­mends some ba­sic main­te­nance. Re­search shows that in the last two years, 37 per cent of homeowners have been af­fected by prob­lems that could have been pre­vented by checks, such as hav­ing a boiler ser­viced or by bleed­ing ra­di­a­tors.

The sur­vey also showed that the weather-re­lated in­ci­dents cost homeowners a col­lec­tive £7.9bn to put right. The most fre­quent prob­lems were blocked gut­ter­ing, leak­ing roofs and dam­aged boil­ers, with the av­er­age re­pair bill be­ing £454.

David Bar­rett of Sains­bury’s Home In­surance says: “There are a num­ber of mea­sures that homeowners can take to min­imise the risk of fall­ing vic­tim to win­ter weather dam­age.

“Hav­ing your boiler ser­viced, check­ing and bleed­ing your ra­di­a­tors and clear­ing your gut­ter­ing are easy to do and could pre­vent the need for costly and in­con­ve­nient re­pairs at this time of year.

“Ul­ti­mately it’s im­por­tant to en­sure that you have a good qual­ity home in­surance pol­icy in place. It’s also worth check­ing if you have home emer­gency cover, as this will help you find an ap­proved trades­man in the event of an emer­gency, like es­cap­ing water or if your heat­ing or elec­tric­ity fails.”

Win­terise your home: tips from the RICS:

Heat­ing sys­tems. Check your heat­ing sys­tem is in or­der; this in­cludes ser­vic­ing the boiler and in­su­lat­ing hot water tanks to en­sure you aren’t paying out lots of cash for a sys­tem that you don’t feel the full ben­e­fit of.

Cen­tral heat­ing boil­ers should be checked and ser­viced at least once a year by a Gas Safe reg­is­tered en­gi­neer. You may also want to con­sider flush­ing the sys­tem to en­sure water flow through ra­di­a­tors is un­ob­structed.

If you no­tice that a ra­di­a­tor is warm at the bot­tom but cool at the top, this could mean that there is air in the sys­tem, which pre­vents the warm cir­cu­lat­ing water from reach­ing the top of the ra­di­a­tor. If you sus­pect air in the sys­tem then the ra­di­a­tor might re­quire bleed­ing.

Roof. This can be in­spected safely from ground level us­ing binoc­u­lars or get an ex­pert to check it for you, though be care­ful to em­ploy some­one rep­utable. This is a trade that at­tracts cow­boys. Check the roof and re­place any cracked tiles. If chim­ney pots are in place but not in use con­sider pro­tect­ing them, by fit­ting ven­ti­lated cowls. In­spect the flash­ings around chim­ney stacks and at abut­ments. Re­place de­fec­tive ones and re-fix any that are loose.

Loft. Check the in­su­la­tion is in good con­di­tion and that there are no ar­eas where in­su­la­tion is miss­ing. Avoid over in­su­lat­ing too as it is im­por­tant that the tanks and pipes in the loft do not freeze. So never in­su­late be­low the tank and make sure the lid is on the cold-water tank.

Gut­ters and drains. Clear them of leaves and de­bris. Take par­tic­u­lar care that the gul­lies are clear as over­flow­ing gut­ters can drench walls and cause dam­age.

Walls. A third of heat lost in the home is through the walls. Cav­ity wall in­su­la­tion is a good op­tion. Check the point­ing too as frost can play havoc with poorly main­tained walls.

Win­dows. Check perime­ters of all win­dows to make sure water flows away from glass and doesn’t col­lect on the sill or drain be­hind it. If dou­ble-glaz­ing is not in place (it cuts heat loss through win­dows by 50 per cent), con­sider fit­ting cheaper op­tions such as sec­ondary glaz­ing or put poly­thene across the win­dow frames. A good set of thick cur­tains can make a big dif­fer­ence to heat loss too.

Doors and floor­boards. Stop draughts through let­ter­boxes by fit­ting a cover and put a sealant around door frames. If there are stripped floors in place, con­sider putting down rugs in the win­ter to re­duce draughts that blow up be­tween the boards.

Ven­ti­la­tion. Let­ting a prop­erty breathe the warm air out is just as im­por­tant as stop­ping cold air from coming in. Show­ers, cook­ing, pe­ri­odic short bursts of heat­ing through­out the day and a lack of ven­ti­la­tion can all lead to a build-up of what amounts to many litres of water daily, which forms con­den­sa­tion and damp through­out the home. This prob­lem can be re­duced sim­ply by open­ing the win­dows ev­ery now and then.

Pro­tect pipes. Pipes in cold ar­eas such as cel­lars and garages can freeze and split in cold weather. Con­sider lag­ging them. You can buy click on foam jack­ets for them from DIY stores. Garden taps are also vul­ner­a­ble so in­vest in in­su­la­tion cov­ers for them too, again avail­able at DIY out­lets.

HOWZAT: Up­per Rookes Hall has five bed­rooms and a Small­bone kitchen. It oozes char­ac­ter and has mul­lioned win­dows along with orig­i­nal pan­elling and fire­places. Out­side there are south fac­ing gar­dens with large lawned ar­eas and flowerbeds and a cricket pitch with its own pavil­ion.

OUT­SIDE THREATS: Snow and ice can play havoc with a home that has not had ba­sic checks per­formed to en­sure it is able to with­stand win­ter.

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