A winter DIY guide: How to keep your house in tip-top shape.
Winter can hard on your home. The weather can cause havoc, rain, sleet, ice and snow pose a threat throughout the cold spell, so it’s essential to be prepared for every eventuality. Here’s how to cope if:
Your condensate pipe freezes
If you’re not used to heating terms, you might be wondering what a condensate pipe is! Put simply, it’s the small plastic tube that removes condensation from your boiler to an outside drain. During winter, it can freeze causing your central heating system to fail – so you must locate the blockage and thaw the pipe using a jug of hot water. This can be quite a laborious process, but the ice should turn to water eventually. If you still can’t get things up and running, arrange a boiler service with a Gas Safe engineer – this site can help you find qualified workmen.
Get Ahead – remember to ask your service engineer where this pipe is the next time they are at your home so if the worst happens you know how to find the right pipe. If it is exposed to the elements consider insulating it – wrapping it in insulated material to reduce the risk of freezing.
Your waterworks burst
Sub-zero temperatures can freeze water in pipes. As water freezes it expands which can cause pipes to crack and burst. Some bursts result in lots of leaking water and you should call a plumber straight away. There are plenty of things you can do before help arrives to reduce the damage. Firstly, turn off the main stopcock so no more water enters your home from the water main. Then drain the water still trapped in your homes pipes by turning on all your cold water taps and flushing your toilets. Once that’s done, switch off the central heating system and make sure the electricity is off at the mains. When the situation is a little more under control, place buckets to catch any dripping water and move gadgets away from puddles or leaks.
Get Ahead – Make sure you know where your water main enters the house and how you turn it off. Check the exterior of your home and see if there are any exposed water pipes. Also check areas of the house that are not heated and are at risk of freezing, like roof spaces and cellars. Consider insulating pipes in those locations. Have a look at this short and helpful video which shows you how to take some easy preventative steps to prevent your pipes freezing.
There’s a heavy downpour
If you live in a flood-prone area, sandbags can protect your home during a heavy downpour. They can be used to block openings into your property such as doorways and drains and are ideal for weighing down manhole covers, garden furniture and blocking toilets to stop anything nasty coming out of it into your house.
Get Ahead – Your local authority should provide bags to houses at risk, but if you don’t receive any you can create your own. Unfilled sandbags and loose sand are widely available, so stock up before winter hits.
Your drive turns into an ice rink
Ice skating on a proper rink can be fun, but nobody likes to slip and slide down their driveway. To prevent hazardous conditions, get hold of some de-icing salt or brown grit and apply it liberally to all exposed surfaces. These products lower the freezing point of snow and ice and make roads, paths and steps a lot easier to walk on. It’s ideal for homes and business and can keep for long periods of time in weather-proof bins.
Get Ahead – Buy a sack or two of salt before Winter hits when there is plenty on the shops and its not expensive. Place it in a bin where it is easy to access.
A little DIY and common sense can go a long way, but remember to update your boiler cover and home insurance policies – just in case you need to make a claim.