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Getting your home winter ready

As the winter months approach, it’s important to conduct some home maintenance checks to help keep you and your home as safe as possible.

Now is a good time to start preparing your home, so to help, we’ve put together some easy top tips and advice.

Check your boiler

  • One of the most important things to remember at this time of year, is to make sure your heating and boiler is working properly now before it gets really cold. If there’s a problem, please get in touch so we can book an appointment to fix it. Please don’t wait until winter to see if there’s an issue!
  • We carry our annual gas safety checks in your home. If your appointment is due, make sure you’re in for it. These checks are legally required and important for your safety. If you’ve missed your appointment, get in touch to rebook it as soon as possible.
  • Leaseholders and shared ownership owners: If you’re a leaseholder or you own your home through the shared ownership scheme, you’re responsible for your own boiler and appliances. You should use a Gas Safe registered engineer to fit, fix and service your appliances. You can find an engineer at GasSafeRegister.co.uk or call 0800 408 5500.

Use your heating wisely

Alongside checking your boiler and heating works, there’s a number of things you can do to keep your home as warm and cosy as possible:

  • Use your timer to turn the heating up only when you need it. Not when you’re out
  • If you can, use your controller and set the hot water and the heating to come on at times when you need them, rather than having them both on all the time
  • Set your heating timer to come on a bit earlier than normal, but at a slightly lower temperature. It costs less to heat a home that is already warm rather than heating a home from the same temperature as outside. The boiler will not have to work as hard and so will save you money. A good temperature is 18°C - 21°C
  • Avoid drying clothes on your radiators as this cools the room and your boiler will use more gas to bring the temperature back up
  • Set your water temperature to 55°C
  • Move the sofa so it’s not blocking the heat coming from the radiator
  • Close your curtains to make the room cosy and keep out draughts. Draught excluders in front of doors are also really handy
  • Open your curtains in the day to let in the sunlight and free heat.

Help avoid burst pipes

The damage caused by a burst pipe can be devastating in the home. Water freezing can cause the pipes to swell and crack, and when it defrosts the water will come pouring out. To help avoid this from happening you should:

  • Repair or report any minor leaks before they have chance to develop into a bigger one
  • Leave your heating on low if you’re away from home in cold weather to avoid pipes freezing
  • Make sure your pipes and water tanks in the loft space or garage are lagged or insulated to help keep them above freezing
  • Fix dripping taps – even a slow trickle can cause a burst pipe
  • Make sure your boiler has been serviced
  • Ensure you know where your stopcock is, and that you can turn it on and off so you can turn the water off at the mains in an emergency and limit the resultant damage.

Manage roof leaks

As the weather turns wet and windy, we can sometimes unfortunately find out we’ve got a leak from our roof. There are some steps you can take to help minimise any damage to your things whilst you wait for a repair:

  • Try and move your furniture, valuable or cherished items safely out of the way
  • Soak up any standing water before covering your floors with waterproof materials such as a spare tarpaulin or plastic bin bags/dust sheets - even old newspapers can help soak up drips
  • If you notice your ceiling dipping or bulging, poking a small hole into it to release the water can help avoid a collapse – make sure you’ve got a bucket ready underneath to catch it
  • Keep a bucket or other container under the leak to catch the falling water until help arrives.  Keep an eye on it though, it can fill up faster than you might expect and keep some sheeting or newspapers under the bucket.

Consider home contents insurance

Now’s a great time to consider whether Home Contents Insurance is right for you. 

The colder, darker and wetter weather can cause problems and a Home Contents policy may help you replace goods if they get accidentally damaged.

We’ve teamed up with the NHF and My Home Contents who offer a policy especially for our customers with flexible payment options, low minimum sums insured and no minimum security requirements. Find out more by visiting https://www.thistlemyhome.co.uk/

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