Help and advice

Getting ready for winter (yes, already!)

While it’s still warm outside you don’t want to be thinking about the onset of colder weather, but that’s exactly why you should. Autumn is fast approaching, and while the temperature is still tolerable it’s time to make preparations for the rough weather that rounds off every British year (and plenty of the summers too if we're honest!). If you check the important things now, you’ve still got time to carry out the repairs before the weather turns, so start preparing now for a cold snap.

Check the pipes

Burst pipes can cause a huge amount of damage and when the house is being battered by the weather, the last thing you need is to be without heating and surrounded by dehumidifiers. So first thing’s first – make sure you know where the stopcock is. It’s the tap that controls the water supply to your whole house and it’s often found under the sink, although it could be hiding elsewhere. Try turning it off and on again and make sure it works, so if you do have a burst pipe you can limit the damage quickly.

Then make sure all the heat will be kept in by checking your pipes are properly insulated. This will go a long way to stopping your pipes from freezing.

Similarly, check your taps and make sure none of them are dripping. Get the ball valves and the actual units fixed if need be, because drips can cause waste pipes to freeze.

Tanked up

You need to make sure your tanks won't freeze. Top tip: make sure there’s no insulation stuffed under the water tank in your loft if you have one. It will stop the heat from rising through the house to the tank, making it more vulnerable to cold conditions.

That said, make sure that cisterns, water tanks, boilers or anything else that contains standing water is wrapped in an insulation jacket to stop the liquid from freezing.

Batten down the hatches

There are plenty of little things on the exterior of the house which could cause problems down the line. It’s crucial that you check the rook for any tiles that are damaged or coming loose, as well as clearing the gutters and looking for any signs of cracks. Repair any damage to your fences, gates, garden shed and anything else on the outside – if the wind picks up and these objects end up blowing around they could do even more harm.

Of course, if you’re anything like me and prone to slipping and sliding at the first sign of wet leaves, you might also want to make sure you’re tooled up on garden equipment like a rake or a leaf-blower to keep your paths and driveways clear.

Stock up

Keep plenty of supplies to hand in case things do get serious. In the event of a power cut, you’ll need batteries, candles, matches and at least one powerful torch. And if the weather gets so bad you find yourself snowed in as many people did last winter, you’ll be grateful for tinned and frozen basic foods to keep you and your family going. If you’re on any medication, investigate whether your pharmacy offers delivery on prescriptions.


© Axonn 2015