Prepare for winter
No matter where you live, or how long you’ve lived, in the UK; winter always seems to creep up and suddenly we have the cold, frost and rain (although wind and rain won’t just be in winter this year). So October is a good time to run through a few ‘pre winter’ checks on your house. Some won’t be appropriate for all properties, so read through and pick out those which are.
* Have a look at the guttering and down pipes for any damage – do you recall any problems (such as overflowing guttering) which you’ve put off sorting out ? Now’s the time to sort these thing out.
* From ground level, have a look at the roof for signs of problems, such as loose or missing tiles or slates. Do the TV/Satellite aerials look securely fixed.
* Have a look at the external walls, what’s the state of the pointing and any rendering, is it missing in any place or look about to drop out.
* If you have an outside water tap which you have finished using for this year, turn it off inside the house if possible, and/or lag the tap itself.
* Clear any leaves etc from drains and clean (pressure wash) patios and paths so that they won’t become slippery.
* If you use solid fuel, have chimneys and flues swept if they haven’t been recently.
* If you use solid fuel, oil, or non-mains gas; check your stocks, order some more if necessary and make sure you have contact numbers for suppliers for when you do want to have a re-supply.
* If you have a gas central heating, check it’s working before you need it and have any gas boiler serviced regularly by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
* Check that all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are in working order – you tend to have less ventilation during the winter, so carbon monoxide can be a greater risk.
* Check that the loft insulation is up to spec with pipes and water tanks lagged – pay special attention to the loft hatch area if you’ve been up there during the summer. Check that any draught excluders are undamaged.
* Make sure you know where the external and internal water stop cocks are located and give them a twist to make sure they are not seized up. Also, know where to isolate the electricity and gas supplies. Make every adult and responsibly children in the property are aware of where and how to isolate the water, gas and electricity.
* If you had snow in the last few winters, remember what you needed then and make sure you are prepared. A shovel, stiff brush, boots, rock salt (but not for use on concrete, use builders sand for that) – if you get bad weather, local stocks may run out fast, so be prepared.
* If you live in an isolated location where you could be snowed in to any degree, start building up a stock of long shelf life foods just in case.