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Make Your Home Safe for Winter

Make Your Home Safe for Winter

Flooding risk Pipes can freeze

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over and burst during cold winters, so pipe insulation is a cheap way of avoiding a large expense! Areas like basements or lofts are the places most at risk, as they don’t usually get any heating. If you plan on being away from home for a while it might be wise to set the heating to very low, or set for it to still come on whilst the house is empty. Doing so can prevent pipes from freezing over and keep warm air circulating around the building. In the event of a pipe freezing:

  • Put hot water bottles or a thick cloth soaked in hot water over the frozen pipe – when thawing, start at the end of the pipe nearest the tap and work away from it
  • Never use a naked flame

Make sure that everyone knows where the stop tap is located in the building, so that action can be taken in an emergency. If a pipe bursts then it’s important to get the water supply switched off and the flooded area made safe – if the flooding is above a room then make sure there is no risk of the ceiling falling through on top of anyone. There’s usually a stop tap under the sink, or on the hot water tank – sometimes these can malfunction or rust over in the on position, so it’s wise to check these are working regularly. Fire hazards Electric blankets, portable heaters and candles are used more during the colder months, and improper use can easily cause a serious fire to break out. Portable heaters – Make sure portable heaters are on a flat, stable surface with the back facing a wall – Make sure there aren’t any curtains or blankets near the heater that might catch fire – Don’t use portable heaters for drying clothes Open fires and candles – Make sure you always use a fireguard, especially if you have children or pets wandering close by – Make sure you only use proper kindling and don’t throw rubbish or food onto the flames – Always put the fire out before you go to bed or leave the house – Check that chimneys are clear and get them swept out yearly to avoid debris building up – Don’t leave candles unattended or near curtains and bedding Electric blankets – Always ensure the wiring is not damaged or bent before use – Always unplug electric blankets before falling asleep – Avoid buying second-hand electric blankets in case of faulty wiring – Limit the amount of time the blanket is switched on to avoid overuse General tips Clear out any guttering before winter hits, so that water and leaves clogging the gutters don’t freeze over, expand and wrench the piping away from the building. It’s best to clear out and weed the garden in late autumn, so you have a head start on the next season before the bad weather hits. Check the roof for any missing tiles or holes that water could seep through, or heat could escape from. A small repair could save you lots of money if you manage to avoid a flood in the attic! Add draft excluders to doors and letterboxes, make sure your attic is properly insulated and consider adding thicker curtains or blinds to windows – all of these can trap heat within the building and save money on gas and electric bills! Check that windows are properly sealed and have adequate coverings (blinds, curtains etc) – windows are the biggest source of heat loss if not properly maintained. It sounds ridiculous, but preparing some food in case of storms or snow can be a lifesaver during winter! Just freeze a loaf of bread and some milk, and make sure you have some tinned food stored away. It might sound extreme, but if you live on a hill or in a village, snow can make the simplest journeys impossible. At the very least, it’ll prevent you having to venture out when it’s freezing cold and raining in December! Invest in some grit salt and a shovel before the ice sets in too. Keeping a shovel in the car is the best way to ensure that you don’t get snowed in or stuck out in the middle of nowhere, and grit can make steps and pavements safe to walk on when temperatures drop below freezing. This guide is provided by Roman Blinds Direct

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