What to check when preparing the interior of your home for extreme weather

Extreme weather conditions can cause serious damage inside your home. Flood damage can destroy your interior while cold and frost can wreak havoc with your plumbing. These are some common problems that can be easily avoided.

Inside the house

Electrical devices

Electricity and water are not a fun combination and if you are in danger of flooding you need to be very cautious about electrical devices within the home. There are number of steps you can take to prevent any accidents or electrical damage during a flood.

  • If you live in an area at risk of flooding it is definitely worth raising the height of sockets in your home to 1.5 metres above ground level.
  • All valuables should be stored on shelves or above waist height e.g. consider mounting televisions on the wall.
  • If flooding is imminent turn your electricity off at the mains to avoid to avoid power surges and damage to the electrics in your property.

Bath

If you are under the immediate risk of flooding then there are some precautionary measure you can take to prevent damage to your plumbing.

  • Make sure gutters and drains are clear so water can drain through easily.
  • To help prevent water from getting into your home by being pushed back up your pipes and out through your plugholes, make sure to put plugs in baths and sinks where possible and put a brick or sandbag on top to prevent water from overflowing through the pipes.

Radiator

As with measures you can take on the exterior of your property there are a number of things that you can do within your home to help prevent it becoming too cold and risking the chance of burst or frozen pipes.

  • Leave the door to your loft open when it’s cold outside to help warm air circulate. Make sure you have thick loft insulation and make sure it covers as many pipes as possible.
  • If you are planning on being away from home for more than a few days then it’s a good idea to keep your central heating at a low but consistent temperature. This prevents the water in your pipes dropping to a temperature where it can freeze.
  • To allow warmer air to circulate and get to pipes in hard to reach places and neighbouring outside walls, leave internal doors open and also kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors.

Window

In the event of a serious storm you need to stay indoors. Avoid driving or leaving the house to assess any damage until the weather has calmed down. There a number of ways you can protect yourself and your home in the event of a storm or very strong gale.

  • Close the curtains in the house just in case any windows are broken during the storm.
  • Keep an emergency kit in the house in preparation for if the power goes out. This should contain: bottles of water, a torch, candles, matches, batteries and dried food such as cereal bars or crackers.
  • Consider putting plastic or cling film across your windows for added insulation and to catch any broken glass.

Water pipes

During the colder months your home may be at risk of burst and/or frozen pipes which can cause untold damage, not to mention stress.

Having water leaking from tanks, pipes and/or heating systems in your home is easily preventable if you are prepared in advance of cold weather.

  • Pipes on the exterior of the house and tanks in the loft that are liable to freeze need to be properly lagged (insulated), ideally from the point of installation. Water tanks and cisterns in lofts or airing cupboards should be wrapped properly in insulating jackets
  • Check the taps in your home and put new washers on any that appear to be dripping as these can freeze and block the pipe when the cold hits.

If you are struggling with the temperature you might have poor insulation. This is especially common in older houses. Get a professional in to check for you.

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