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How to prepare your home for winter

How to prepare your home for winter

Category: Home insurance

Updated: 13/10/2014
First Published: 13/10/2014

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Winter is making its appearance thick and fast, and that means you need to start making the necessary preparations. The quick change from summer temperatures to autumnal downpours caught many of us off guard, and you may not be as far forward with your plans as you otherwise might be. But, fear not – we're here to help, and have compiled a quick checklist of what you need to do to get your home ready for winter.

Practical checks

  • Protect your pipes from the cold. Water pipes are vulnerable to freezing (and therefore bursting) when the temperature really drops, so it's important to do everything you can to protect them. Making sure they're suitably insulated should be at the top of the list, and if you'll be away for a while over winter, make sure you programme your heating system to come on for a few hours every day to keep the temperature up.
  • Check the roof. Leaks are understandably going to be more commonplace in the winter months when your roof is battered with all that wind, rain and snow, so make sure to check it for any potential areas of water ingress. Replace any broken or missing tiles and repair any damage as soon as possible, and if you've got a flat roof, make sure it doesn't need re-covering, as they generally have a shelf life of around five to 10 years.
  • Get your boiler serviced. There'd be nothing worse than getting to the depths of winter only to find your boiler broke down, so make sure to get it and your central heating system serviced before the temperature drops much further.
  • Get draught proofing. Draughts can not only make you feel the chill even more, they can add to your energy bills, too. Make sure to thoroughly draught proof your home as soon as possible, paying particular attention to seals around windows and doors, fireplaces and any gaps around phone or TV wires. Re-seal as necessary, and consider things like draught excluders, chimney balloons and letterbox covers for maximum draught proofing potential.
  • Clean the gutters. Your gutters are going to be used an awful lot over the next few months, so it makes sense to check that they're in proper working order. Make sure it's clear and free from debris such as falling leaves, and if you notice any areas of damage, make sure to get them repaired straight away.
  • Light up. The nights are drawing in fast, and that means you need to think about the lighting situation in and around your home. Installing security lights (if you haven't already got them) could be a great way to instantly bulk up your security, and if you're going on holiday, invest in a light timer so your lights will come on at certain points throughout the day to keep your home safe from the prying eyes of would-be burglars.

Behind the scenes

  • Check your insurance documents. Home insurance claims unsurprisingly spike in the winter months, largely thanks to the increased number of winter damage claims. Checking that your insurance details are up to scratch is therefore vital, because you wouldn't want to make a claim only to find you weren't suitably covered, or even worse, that your policy had expired altogether. If it's time to renew, make sure to check out our comparison tool to get the level of cover you're after.
  • Compare your energy tariff. Thoughts will inevitably turn to rising energy bills at this time of year, which means now's the time to make sure you've got a tariff that can keep your bills as low as possible. Get searching.
  • Check out TV packages. As the chill starts to set in, chances are you'll be more inclined to curl up in front of the TV for the night than head out on the town. But, you don't want to spend a fortune on your TV package, so use our handy comparison tool to find the best phone, broadband and TV deals that can keep you entertained without the excessive costs.

These are just a few things you'll need to do to get your home as ready as possible for the winter months, and although they may seem like extra chores, it'll be worth it when you're warm and toasty in your thoroughly winter-proofed home.

What next?

Compare home insurance quotes

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Find a cheaper energy tariff

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.