With severe weather warnings and snow forecast for later in the week, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) is advising householders to make some important checks on their homes to avoid problems when the cold weather arrives.
- Check your boiler - make sure your boiler is in full working order and if you have any doubts, get it checked.
- Are your pipes lagged? - check your pipes, particularly those in the loft. Over time lagging can come away and even a small area of exposed pipework is at risk of bursting if temperatures go below freezing. One way to avoid burst pipes during a period of extreme cold is to keep your heating on at a constant, low temperature particularly if you are away for long periods.
- Is your roof well-insulated? - Snow has its uses - take a look at your roof after a fall of snow. If it has a good layer of snow which has not melted it probably means the roof is well insulated. If the snow is melting it's time to take a look at it.
- Icy paths - Get yourself a supply of rock salt to sprinkle on your front path, available from most DIY or hardware stores - it'll make it safer for you and your visitors. Remember you are responsible for anything that happens on your property.
- Blocked guttering - It's worth ensuring your guttering is not blocked. If the blockage ices up it can cause leaks when it thaws.
- The big thaw - Really heavy snowfall can cause problems with flooding when it thaws. Have a few sandbags handy to block doorways and airbricks.
- Avoiding the cowboys - Once the snow thaws many homeowners could face building repair bills running into thousands of pounds. According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI) the floods in the year 2000 caused damage to buildings, goods and furniture to the tune of some £2bn. The FMB advises against making quick decisions when it comes to builders, you could be employing a cowboy.