Get Ready For Winter

Featured in the January 2011 handbook.

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Have your central heating boiler serviced at least once a year – Also check your water system at the same time. If you have a metal cold water tank, make a point of inspecting it for corrosion, and bleed all your radiators to ensure they are working efficiently. Some older properties might also have metal oil tanks these need to be checked carefully for leakage and, if you spot any rusting, replace it urgently.

Check your pipes are properly lagged, especially in the attic. During a cold snap, or if you are planning to be away from home for a few days, consider keeping the heating on low for a few hours during the night. It just might help you avoid a burst pipe.

Make sure you have a supply of rock salt at your home for melting ice on paths and driveways. It should be kept somewhere accessible so you can easily get to it first thing in the morning when everyone is rushing out.

Clear out your guttering after the autumn leaf drop. Even if you don’t have trees in close proximity to your home, you’ll be amazed at the debris that can collect. The potential water damage which can result from blocked guttering and drains is easily avoided.

Be prepared for power cuts. Make sure you have candles, matches and a torch (with spare batteries) in a handy place. I also keep a wind-up radio on a particular window ledge, this can be really useful for tapping into local news bulletins – you’ll want to know when your power might be turned back on!

Check your car is roadworthy. If it will need servicing over the next couple of months, why not organise it now – for added peace of mind. At the very least make sure your screen wash is topped up and your wipers are in good order – especially if you do a lot of motorway driving. Check out the condition of your tyres and don’t forget your spare wheel – is it in good nick? You should also make sure you buy some de-icer now to store in your car together with a scraper – very useful.

How would you cope in an emergency?

Flood – do you know where your mains water stopcock / electrical fuse box / gas shut-off valve is? And, most importantly, do you know how to shut them off?

Fire – plan your escape! Do all your family know how they should escape from the house if they were trapped either upstairs or downstairs and where door and window keys are kept? A few minutes thought really could save lives!

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