How to winterproof your home:

Shorter days and longer nights, chilly mornings and evenings – these are the signs that winter is here to stay. No matter where in the country you live, whether you will be facing days of rain or dry icy spells, now’s the time to assess your home to make sure that you’ve done everything you can to minimise the effects that seasonal change could have on your property. Make a few smart adjustments now and you’ll retain the value of your home and save yourself money in the long run.

Home checks 

  • As soon as temperatures drop, there is the possibility that water in the water pipes can freeze. Check that your water pipes and geyser have been insulated with special insulation material as it can help save on your monthly electric bill.
  • Your roof goes through a lot in a year, especially due to varying temperatures causing it to expand and contract. If you have a metal panel roof, consider getting an insulation product.
  • Keep gutters clear of debris so they can effectively remove water from the roof.
  • Before lighting that first cosy winter fire, have chimneys and furnaces maintained to ensure they are free of debris.
  • Check for weak, low-hanging branches. Gale force winds can cause these to break, which could cause damage to your building’s exterior.
  • Strong winds from a winter storm can rip off loose tiles, so be sure all roof tiles are securely fastened.
  • Be pool smart: Use a pool cover to limit water loss and keep filtering to once every 24 hours during winter. This could greatly save on the energy necessary to run your pool pump.

Electrical checks

  • Because we tend to use more electric appliances, residential fires increase in winter. It is therefore important to protect your family by getting a fire extinguisher for your home, if you don’t already have one.
  • Winter’s most popular electrical appliances – heaters, electric blankets, etc – are notorious electrical fire hazards so replace worn plugs and cords, and take heed if a fuse or circuit trips continuously.
  • Check that all your appliances are switched off when you leave your house.
  • Avoid overloading power points or altering the structure of the plugs on existing appliances to make them fit.
  • Fuses may be easy to replace but if a fuse blows or the circuit trips repeatedly, the cause may need to be investigated.
  • Make sure heating appliances are at least a metre away from combustible materials such as curtains or plastic containers and nominate someone to check it is switched off at the end of the day.

Keeping warm

  • If you are using space heaters, remember to close doors, windows, curtains and blinds to retain as much heat as possible.
  • Seal gaps around windows and draught-proof wall cavities throughout your home in preparation for winter. You could also use a rolled up towel or a door snake to prevent cold air from seeping in, or add curtains and blinds with block-out fabric to bare windows.
  • If you have ceiling fans, put them on a low-speed clockwise rotation to drive warm air from the ceiling back to you. Remember: warm air rises!
  • Keep the curtains of your south-facing windows open during the day to let as much of the sun’s heat in as possible.

By giving your home a good once-over now, you’ll suffer less from the effects of freezing temperatures, flooding, gale force winds and more during winter. And remember – when risks do become a reality, the advice and insurance you need are just a phone call away. Santam. Insurance good and proper.

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