Winter is on its way, and that can spell trouble for homes. From burst pipes to leaky roofs, all sorts of things can go wrong at home over the winter period - so it pays to be prepared.
Lag your pipes and water tanks to help prevent bursting during freezing weather.
During autumn guttering and drains may become blocked with fallen leaves, so check them regularly and remove any debris that may prevent rainwater running away freely.
Check your roof for loose, damaged or missing tiles. If you have a flat roof, check that the surface is in good condition.
Make sure your home is insulated. According to the National Insulation Association, 59% of heat can be lost through uninsulated walls and roofs. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that householders can save £140 a year by insulating cavity walls, and as much as £180 a year by installing loft insulation. With household energy bills rising by an average of 9% this winter, ensuring your home retains warmth is a good investment.
Keep draughts out. Fit draught excluders to doors; if your budget is small, consider old-fashioned "sausage dog" draught excluders (you can easily make these yourself; even an old towel rolled up and placed along the bottom of a door can help keep warmth in).
Make sure your boiler has been serviced by a registered Gas Safe engineer. Boilers should be serviced annually. If your boiler is very old, it may not be very energy efficient; upgrading your boiler to a newer model can help you save on future energy costs.
If you have an open fire or solid fuel burner, get your chimney swept. If you have a chimney with a fireplace that's used only for decoration, consider installing a chimney balloon, which will help prevent warmth escaping up the chimney.
It's worth remembering that spending a little now to prevent mishaps can save money in the long term, so preparing your home for winter can be a wise investment. If you'd like advice on the condition of your home, please call Dafydd Hardy's Professional Surveys department on 01286 676 760 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.