Think ahead – Prepare your property for the winter months
Winter can be a happy and exciting time for many year but the drop in temperature and increase in harsher weather conditions pose many problems. It is important that homeowners care for their property in the winter months and there are a number of steps that should be taken around the home.
Protect your pipes
The impact a broken or burst pipe can have on water in winter can have a devastating impact on a house, with flooding a common outcome of a burst or frozen pipe. Burst pipes are commonly caused by a build-up of water pressure behind an area of the pipe that has become frozen.
Good ways to minimise the impact of frost or cold temperatures inside the home include turning on your central heating for short periods during the day time. This will help to remove the chill and coldness of a room and can play a role in ensuring pipes do not freeze.
If you have a roof space such as an attic, you can allow hot air to move into this space by opening the entry point or door that allows access to the roof space. A similar strategy is to keep the cupboard door under the sink open as this enables warm air to circulate around your pipes. Anything which helps to maintain the temperature of the piping in your property will help to minimise the risk of pipes freezing or bursting.
If you have suffered a frozen pipe, you should attempt to thaw it in a controlled and slow manner. You may think that using extreme or direct heat, such as using a blowtorch, will work effectively but this can damage your pipes. The safest approach to thawing a frozen pipe is to place hot water bottles on to the pipe or wrap towels or cloths, which have been soaked in hot water, around the pipe.
If you have suffered a burst pipe, you need to access your stopcock and turn it clockwise to close off the water supply. This will ensure that no more water is allowed entry to your pipes. If the rush of water stops soon after, the burst pipe lies on your main water system while if the rush of water continues, the problem is likely related to your cold water storage container or system. This will require you to drain the storage tank, which is normally found in your roof space.
Clear guttering whenever possible
Before the harsher winter conditions set in, it is important to clear your gutters. A build-up of leaves and debris can block gutters, leading to water building up. This can then run down the walls of a home, finding a way into the property. Excess water can also lead to gutters and pipes breaking away or becoming loose.
Check your radiators
You can quickly check if your radiators are in good condition by checking the top and bottom of the radiator. If the top section is colder than the bottom, it is likely that there is air trapped inside the radiator. This requires you to bleed the radiator, which releases the built up air. This helps your radiator to work in a more effective manner, lowering the risk of damage and higher energy bills.
Keep the property clean
One major issue associated with winter is your home becoming damp or dirty due to external weather conditions being dragged inside your property. Adding a mat at the front door and providing storage space for people to store coats, shoes and umbrellas will ensure the majority of your home is not impacted on by the worst of winter weather.