Stay warm, save money and prevent damage to your home from the cold and snow with these simple steps from Liberty Insurance Ireland.
As cold weather approaches, there are several things you can do around the house to make sure you and your family are protected. These tips can ensure your house will be in top shape for whatever the weather brings.
Protect Your Pipes
When the water inside your pipes freezes, it will expand, which can cause your pipes to crack and burst. Pipes can also burst when pressure builds up behind a chunk of ice, which is why it’s a good idea to leave taps dripping in very cold weather. Another tip is to open the cupboards under your sink, this will allow the heat from your house to reach the pipes there. A burst pipe can cause significant damage to your home which is why we recommend taking a few steps to winterise your pipes and avoid a potentially catastrophic claim.
- Drain water from outdoor taps and sprinkler systems to keep those pipes from freezing.
- Disconnect and store outdoor hoses; cover outdoor taps with foam insulators.
- Protect water pipes that run through unheated areas of your home with insulation, such as the attic, basement, or garage.
For a house that is left unoccupied, we recommend you turn the water off at the mains and drain the water from all water sources. If possible, set the heating on a timer and have a neighbour check in regularly.
Seal Windows and Doors
Gaps around windows and doors can make it tough to keep your house warm in winter. Keep your heating on at regular intervals or use a timer to ensure your heating keeps running through the cold temperatures. Keep doors to all rooms closed to keep the heat in.
If you can, seal around windows and install weather stripping around doors as needed. This minor and inexpensive task can help you save on heating costs.
Attic, Gutters and Drains
Check-in your attic and look for any signs of leaks from the exterior. Look for wet insulation, dark stains or water dripping from the underside of the roof.
Clear all drains and gutters of leaves and debris so that there isn’t a back-up causing blockages and preventing the run-off of rainwater on your property.
Inspect the Fireplace and Chimney
There’s nothing like the glow of a fire to warm up your home. But before you do, make sure your fireplace and chimney are clean and clear of nesting animals.
A professional chimney sweep can clean out soot and other debris that could catch fire. Keep your home’s warm air from escaping out the chimney when you’re not using it by keeping the flue closed all the way. You shouldn’t be able to feel any cold air coming down the chimney.
Stock Up on Cold-weather Essentials
When winter storms hit, they often come with power outages. To ensure you and your family are prepared for anything Mother Nature throws at you, you will want to have an emergency kit ready. Consider having these cold-weather specific items on hand:
- A working fully charged fire extinguisher.
- Sand, ice melt, and a shovel if where you live is prone to ice and snow (avoid using kitty litter, as it doesn’t provide good traction and can make a mess)
Keep in touch with family and neighbours
- You should also develop a plan for communicating or meeting up with family in case you aren’t together when a winter storm hits.
- Check-in with your neighbours to see whether they need assistance, in particular, seniors and people with disabilities.