How you should be securing your home in winter
Winter can be tough on your home but there are plenty of things you can do to get it ready for the big chill.
Keep Christmas presents out of sight
Try and keep presents around the tree out of sight of prying eyes. If you can keep the blinds or curtains closed when you’re not home, or place your tree and presents away from windows, there’s less chance of opportunistic thieves calling. And don’t forget, if you’re insured with Sheilas' Wheels we increase your home contents cover by 15% 4 weeks before and after Christmas. Just in time for when those presents pile up! It's still always worth reviewing your overall sum insured amount and increase it if you need to - any items valued at £1,500 and over, and any bikes worth more than £500 should be specified.
Leave the heating ‘ticking over’ if you’re going away
If you’re leaving the house for more than a couple of days over the holidays, make sure you leave your heating on a low setting so warm water is left flowing through the pipes and there’s less chance that they’ll freeze. Pipes in the loft are most at risk so make sure they’re properly lagged. It might also be worth leaving the entrance to the loft open so warm air can circulate.
Find your stop valve
The stop valve (or stopcock) controls the water coming into your home. If any of your pipes freeze and burst, you’ll need to use this to shut off the water and prevent further damage. Make sure everyone in your household knows where it is and how to use it.
Test your smoke alarm
You should test the batteries in your smoke alarm regularly anyway but, with the extra fire risks that the festive season brings (such as open fires and fairy lights), it’s more important than ever that you make sure it’s working properly.
Keep toasty over the holidays - bleed your radiators if necessary
If a radiator is cooler at the top compared to the bottom, then it’s likely you need to bleed it to remove any air pockets. This will greatly improve the radiator’s efficiency.
Don’t let Santa get stuck in the chimney
If you have a fireplace, it’s best to have your chimney swept at least once a year. Chimney fires can be very dangerous and cause serious damage. If your chimney is used very often it may need sweeping more regularly, so if you’re unsure it’s best to speak to a professional.
Inspect your roof tiles
If it’s safe to do so, check your roof for missing or cracked tiles that could potentially let water in and cause damage. If you can’t check the roof from the ground and aren’t happy to go up there yourself, you can arrange for a professional to have a look for you.
Check your walls and fences
Winter can take its toll on your walls and fences so it’s sensible to check them over and make sure they’re secure, not in need of repair and ready for whatever the elements have in store for them.
Put away the garden furniture
Try not to leave chairs, tables, children’s toys, barbeques etc out in the garden exposed to the elements over winter. They’ll be much better off inside, even if they’re kept in a shed or garage. New outdoor gifts such as children’s trampolines can easily be blown away in high winds, so make sure these are secure.
If you're an existing Sheilas' Wheels home insurance customer, remember we're here for you if you need us, so if you need to make a claim give us a call on 0345 604 4215. You can also visit our Existing Customer pages online for more information about making a claim.
With Seasonal Best Wishes,
The Sheilas' Wheels team