Estate agents warn against getting caught out by winter weather’s nasty surprises

With January upon us and predicted colder weather on the way, home owners are being warned to take preventative measures against winter’s nasties.

Cold snaps can sometimes come as an unwanted surprise, but by being properly prepared – say our estate agents – there is more chance of heading off any winter misery.

And if you have a property which you are selling but that is currently empty, the advice is to carry out constant checks during the winter and be vigilant.

Preventative measures when it comes to burst water pipes and tanks include:

  • Keeping the central heating set to a minimum of 10-12 degrees. If you go away or your property is empty, leave the heating on low as this will keep the water circulating and also help prevent your pipes from freezing. Also a warm home makes it more appealing to a potential buyer.
  • Removing a square of loft insulation in the area underneath the cold water tank so that heat can penetrate the ceiling and prevent it from freezing. In addition if you are going away for the weekend, open the loft door to allow circulation of heat to prevent freezing.
  • Insulating your pipes.
  • Turning off the water at the stopcock and draining down the system if you are away for a longer period.
  • Making sure you know that your insurance documents are kept in a safe place, and that you can easily find them in an emergency.

If you find your pipes have burst:

  • Turn off water at the stopcock.
  • Do not use the toilet/shower/basin/bath if there is a possibility one of them is the source of the leak.
  • If you are sure it’s not the source, fill the bath for a supply of water – you might need it.
  • Turn off the heating.
  • Remove pictures from any affected rooms as the moisture may damage them.
  • Try to lift furniture or it may soak moisture up through the legs/feet.
  • Do not leave internal doors shut if they are affected by water as they may swell and not open properly.
  • If electricity is affected, turn off power at the consumer unit. If there is any doubt call a qualified electrician.
  • Where there are bowing ceilings, move any valuables, pierce the ceiling with a screwdriver and catch the water in a container.
  • Ensure that you have adequate home insurance should you need to make a claim.
Head of Estate Agency Su Snaith says: “The recent mild weather may have left many of us feeling complacent when it comes to checking our property, but with temperatures predicted to take a dip, we are urging home owners to take the necessary steps to protect their home.

“Any damage caused as a result of adverse weather can be upsetting and inconvenient and, as we have seen elsewhere in the country, costly. However, preventative measures can help to head off any misery. Our branch staff will be happy to offer advice to customers.”

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