According to insurance giant Axa we may be in for a harsh winter this year as a result of the ‘El Nino’ weather effect over the Atlantic Ocean. The last ‘El Nino’ happened six years ago and was followed by the UK experiencing one its worst winters for decades, with sub-zero temperatures, widespread harsh frosts and heavy snow setting in from early December and lasting nearly four months.
Sean Walkden, Head of Household Claims at AXA says, “Whilst we aren’t sure yet of exactly how we’ll be affected by this weather phenomenon, it is always a good idea for homeowners to ensure their home is kept well-maintained and in good condition. Many insurers won’t cover policyholders for natural wear and tear, which can be worsened in bad weather.
“So here are a few simple checks for around your home that will help you keep warm this winter and potentially save policy holders hundreds of pounds in the long term.”
Winter home checklist – pipes
To help prevent frozen or bursting pipes, make sure that they are insulated well by wrapping them in lagging and by putting your heater on a timer to come on regularly – if you are away, be sure to put the heating on for at least one hour a day.
Winter home checklist – loft space
If your loft space has a cold water tank, open the hatch occasionally to allow some heat in the area, this will help ensure the water in the tank doesn’t freeze.
Winter home checklist – radiators
Make sure your radiators are working properly by checking that they are heating at the top and bottom. If they are not, there could be air in the radiators and they may need bleeding. There is an easy step-by-step guide on the AXA website demonstrating how to do this.
Winter home checklist – roof
Check your roof is in good condition with no loose, cracked or missing tiles and that your aerial and chimney stack are secure. Ensuring your roof is well maintained will protect you from stormy weather, especially gale-force conditions. It will also help prevent any rain water from coming into your loft space, which can damage any stored contents or even the building’s structure.
Winter home checklist – gutters & downpipes
Leaves and debris tend to collect in gutters and downpipes, so it is important to keep them clear for water to escape. Blockages and water overflow may cause damage to your exterior walls or fascia and in some cases even interior walls.
Winter home checklist – outside areas
Tidy away loose garden furniture and other items into a garage or a garden shed if possible. Also, secure your fences by making sure they are sturdy and cut away any low or overhanging tree branches. Lastly, put your car in a safe place, such as a garage, or move it somewhere away from where it could be damaged by failing roof tiles or tree branches.