This year has been no different to any other in terms of weather (and weather only), like previous years Ireland enjoyed a relatively mild November and December. However coming into February we have been made aware that the cold snap is coming back. Snow can be beautiful and it’s bringing some welcome excitement to a mundane time. However, despite its positive attributes it also brings with it the threat of damage to your home.
Cold weather puts strain on our internal pipes, our heating systems, our water and more. If you are unprepared you face the risk of experiencing damage to your house. This damage can sometimes lead to a need to phone your home insurance broker and make a claim. We want to help ensure that you get ahead and prevent any damage that might ensue as a result of snow. Have a look at our key tips for protecting your home during this cold snap.
1.Protect your pipes.
Frozen pipes are the number one casualty when it comes to frost and snow. Frozen pipes often lead to burst pipes which can leave you without hot water and with a hefty bill / home insurance claim. There are a number of methods that can help prevent your pipes from freezing over and bursting:
Keep the heat on:
This is one of the more expensive methods but it is effective. Leaving your heating on allows pipes to maintain a consistent level of heat and it prevents frost from sinking in. The heat does not have to be kept as high as you might have it during short periods, however keeping it on at a consistently low level will prevent damage.
If you are leaving your house for a few days during a cold snap then this step is vital in reducing the risk of damage with regard to your pipes.
Allow your faucet to drip:
If you are becoming anxious that your pipes are at risk of freezing over then it’s a good idea to open the faucet fed by your pipe just a little, this will allow it to drip. Allowing the faucet to be left open for a short period relieves pressure in the piping system. Pressure created between the faucet and the blockage is what causes your pipes to freeze in the first place, so this is a handy tip.
If your faucet is served by both hot and cold water pipes, open both of the faucet taps slightly, or set a single handed faucet to warm.
These small steps should help to prevent your pipes from freezing, bursting and subsequently causing major damage.
Seal any gaps or holes near your pipes.
When you hear of a bad forecast coming your way, then it’s a good idea to identify any cracks or holes that may be surrounding your pipes. Look to parts of your home where you know pipes are running beneath the walls, if there are cracks in these areas then they should be filled. Purchase a caulk or a foam insulation to fill the gaps.
This small tip will help cold air from seeping into your pipes and reduce the risk of damage.
2.Consider a home generator.
There is a misconception that all generators are incredibly expensive however, when it comes to a basic domestic generator that you just require for emergencies, they’re actually more reasonable then you might think.
Generators come with a variety of product offerings, so if you’re investing in one, it’s a good idea to consider what you might need it for. If you just want to have back up for heating on the off chance your pipes freeze, then these generators are easy to source.
3.Seal your draughts.
When the cold weather is en-route it’s important to keep the warmth in as much as you can. Check for cavities or cracks around your windows and doors. You’ll be able to feel a cold breeze passing through them if they are present. In order to stay warm and comfortable in your home during the winter, all these gaps should be filled.
Ridding your home of draughts will help you to achieve increased energy efficiency in your home and will allow you to create a more comfortable space for you and your family during the snow or frost.
4.Trim any tree branches which hang over your roof.
Snow storms don’t just bring snow and ice but they often bring strong winds. We’ve all been experiencing the gale force winds of late. Unfortunately, wind as a result of a snow storm can cause just as much damage as wind you might face from a tropical storm.
Strong winds and breezes have the power to sway a nearby tree towards your home. It’s vital to protect your roof and at least try to minimise the risk when it comes to bad weather.
Take care to trim your branches away from your roof or hire a tree service to remove any threatening branches from the perimeter of your house or yard. Trees are one of the most common causes for roof damage and in order to avoid a home insurance claim, it’s a good idea to be one step ahead.
5.Prepare an emergency kit.
Should the worst come to the worst and the snow leaves a formidable mark, it’s good to have an emergency kit. The strong winds that prevail with a snowstorm have a tendency to play havoc with our electricity lines. Unfortunately, if this happens late in the evening or at night when it is dark, it can cause a lot of inconvenience.
When the power goes, we don’t have access to light, heat or in some cases water. That’s why it’s a really good idea to always have the necessities at hand for when you need them.
Grab an old tool kit and put the following items in it to ensure that you are prepared for the eventualities a snowstorm might bring.
- A flashlight
- A portable USB charger.
- A multipack of water.
- Candles and a lighter.
- A heating generator (albeit this might not fit in the tool kit).
- Some snacks.
At insuremyhouse.ie we do our best to support homeowners throughout the length and breadth of the country. If you want a reasonable quote without compromising on the cover, then reach out!