WINTER PROOF YOUR HOME
It doesn’t matter whether you’re still enjoying summer sun or live in one of the wetter, cooler areas, this is the time to look at winter-proofing your home.
The old saying “a stitch in time saves nine” applies especially to properties. Putting something right now when it remains mild and there is still plenty of daylight to work by is a lot easier and cheaper than waiting for the storms and snow that are bound to expose weaknesses.
Lloyds Bank Home Insurance says: “Winter may be the last thing many people want to think about after the nation has basked in a long, hot summer. However, taking some time out now to inspect your home and carry out some essential home maintenance can save unnecessary hassle and expense further down the line when the temperatures drop.”
Insurers such as Lloyds suggest you give your home an annual “MOT test”.
Cars can fail on small, easy to fix things, such as a broken light bulb. It’s the same with your home – little items are important as they can lead to worse.
So, pen and paper in hand, take a walk around.
Look for leaves and other debris in gutters which can cause water overflows, damp walls and possible rot or fungus.
Inspect brickwork – if pointing is missing, it’s easy to replace. The alternative is damp.
Deal now with small amounts of rotten wood – today’s two-part fillers work well but if it’s a large problem, you’ll have to replace.
Put a fresh coat of wood preservative on garden buildings – you could even change the colour! Replace any broken shed windows – or, at the very least, waterproof them with duct tape.
Depending on where you live, take in garden furniture this month or next. It will last much longer. If you can’t store it, buy a purposemade cover – less costly than replacing tables and chairs – every year, there are accidents when people sit in wooden chairs which collapse from rot.
Fences are often the first casualty of storms and insurance generally won’t pay. Finding someone to do this work after a winter storm can be difficult – and expensive. So sort it now.
Something wrong with your roof? It’s better to get it fixed now rather than wait until you have a snow and storm crisis.
Indoors, check draught-proofing on doors and windows and also look at light bulbs – replace those that are broken – you’ll save money with low-energy LEDs.
What might be a relatively small, quick job now could be a real problem once winter sets in
Insurers may not pay out if lack of maintenance is to blame for problems. Some jobs you can tackle yourself, such as repairing a windowsill, but if you do need to get a pro in, make sure you find quality tradespeople to do the job