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PREVENTING WINTER PROPERTY DAMAGE 

General wear and tear to your home is not covered under any type of buildings insurance policy, so it’s really important that you maintain your property – whether it’s your own home or a property you are renting out. 
 
With the UK set to brace itself for an icy blast over the start of the new year, we’ve put together some tips to help make sure your house is frost proofed and ready for the chill. 
 
Clear your gutters 
Blocked gutters mean that water will have to find an alternative way to escape – if this means that it’s running down outside walls, this could be damaging your brickwork. As if that isn’t bad enough, once the frost sets in, this could cause even further damage. 
 
Make some time to give your guttering and pipes a once over to check there are no cracks or leaks, and that they’re all clear for the water to run through freely. 
 
Protect your brickwork 
Frost can quite easily cause damage to brickwork and mortar. The outside of your home is constantly exposed to the elements and when water finds its way in to the porous bricks, it freezes and expands causing the bricks to break away. It’s a good idea to check your bricks and arrange for any potential problems to be repaired by a professional before they develop any further. 
 
Check your paintwork 
If frost finds its way into any loose paintwork, cracks or open joints it can really have an adverse effect. Be sure to inspect the outside of your house and fill any gaps where necessary. Also check your paintwork – sand down, prime and repaint if you find any chips, flakes or damage. 
 
Inspect your roof 
It is important that you ensure your roof is watertight and that no tiles are cracked or missing. Check the pointing and fill in any cracks or missing cement. 
 
Insulate your loft 
Poor roof insulation can cause an ice dam to form. This happens when a warm roof melts the fallen snow, leaving it to drain into the gutters where it refreezes. Snow then builds up behind the ice creating an ice dam. This is something you should really attempt to avoid as ice dams can bring down guttering and melting snow can leak into your roof. 
 
Not only will proper insulation make your house warmer and less susceptible to frost damage, but you could save money on heating bills too. 
 
Service your boiler and check your pipes 
A drop in temperature can cause pipes to freeze or even burst, which could leave you without heating and hot water - so preventative measures are a must. Before the cold weather sets in, arrange for a professional to check that your boiler’s working efficiently and that your pipes are adequately insulated. 
 
Keep an eye on pipes in cold spaces such as a basement or attic and know where your stop cock is in case you need to turn off the water quickly. 
 
Most Home Emergency policies will require you to have an annual service carried out anyway in order for your cover to be valid. 
 
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