How to protect your home this winter.

In recent years I’ve witnessed numerous disasters from home owners taking insufficient measures to protect their property from frost damage. One of the most disastrous I’ve seen was a bungalow in Cheddon Road where my clients were taking a Christmas cruise during a particularly cold snap. Despite the annual warning I had made, they hadn’t left any heating on, the pipes in the loft space froze and when the thaw took hold, the pipes burst and all hell broke loose. While the holidaymakers were floating merrily around on the Med, their worldly possessions were floating merrily around on a foot of water back home in Taunton.

Don’t let a similar fate befall your property this year – here are a few valuable tips:

*Consider lagging internal pipework – in particular, pipes in the loft. This can be easily performed and you won’t have to dig too deep with inexpensive pipe insulation covers available from any DIY store.

*Fit covers over outside taps to help prevent freezing.

*Ensure your boiler and heating system is serviced annually.

*Watch for changes in your home. A drop in boiler pressure and discolouration to floors and            ceilings could be signs of leaks.

And if you’re going away:

*Consider turning off the water supply at the stopcock. If a pipe bursts, the escape of water and flood damage will be limited.

*Leave the heating on. Set it to around 12C (54F) and pipework shouldn’t get cold enough to freeze.

*Open the loft hatch and the warm air reach water pipes and the tank if you have one.

*Enlist a lookout! Provide a key to a family member or friend to keep a check.

*Lastly – If you plan to leave your property unoccupied for an indeterminate time this winter, consider not only turning off the main supply but also having the entire central heating/hot water system drained down. If the need arises, I have a panel of plumbers and heating engineers I can call upon to do this for you at minimal expense.

SO – Watch out, Jack Frost is about – You have been warned!