24|7 Home Rescue have compiled a to-do list for one last push to help get your home in shape for winter. Now you’ll find us with a cup of tea, hibernating under a blanket in front of the fire until spring!
1. Clear the gutters
As the seasons change, so do our homes’ needs! The leaves that fell in autumn will have collected and become damp in the gutters. Leaving them there can back up your gutters and potentially damage the roof. The last thing you want over winter!
2. Make a drainage plan
It’s important to make sure that your property is prepared to absorb the inevitable torrential downpours that we are due. It’s even more important if you have a garden that you take pride in. Naturally, grass and soil can only absorb certain amounts of water – so propose a plan that will allow the rest to trickle away into a drain.
3. Lick of paint
Whilst we’re still having some dry days, it might be worth running around any fences and decking with a paint brush and pot. Keep the garden looking spruce even in the dullest of days!
It’s finally December, which means that Christmas mode is already in full swing here at 24|7 HQ and we are so excited! It’s the 1st December, which unofficially marks the day that it’s socially acceptable to get the decorations out of the loft and dance around with Christmas songs on repeat!
But before we get too carried away, there’s probably a few things we should take care of around the house first – so that absolutely nothing gets in the way of family time this Christmas.
1. Twinkling lights
Fairy lights are the staple Christmas decoration that every home needs. If you’re dressing your tree in them make sure that they carry the British Safety Standard logo. It’s highly recommended to use low voltage LED lights on your tree – they don’t get hot and therefore your tree is much less likely to catch fire. Not only that, but they help you to save money on those energy bills and are considerably more child-proof! Make sure that you switch lights off at the socket when you’re asleep or out of the house.
If you’re a little keener than most and want to install outdoor lights around your home and garden, make sure (again) that the lights meet safety standards and are specifically designed to be outdoors. If you can’t, or don’t want to get a qualified electrician to install the lights, make sure that you have access to a ladder and don’t install them in bad weather.
2. Get covered
Unlike car insurance, you don’t need to have home insurance. It’s not compulsory, but well worth investing in if you don’t have cover in place already. For burglars and thieves, Christmas is prime time for finding lots of expensive goods in one place. Of course, there are measures you should take to prevent the chances of a theft, which we have explained below, but it’s worth investing in just in case someone does end up getting away with your hard-earned valuables.
Similarly, if you already have home insurance in place – double check that it covers such thefts and look into switching providers if it doesn’t. You can compare home insurance on our partners’ websites: Money Supermarket, uSwitch and GoCompare.
3. Away for Christmas?
If you’re jetting off for some winter sun, or perhaps visiting family in another part of the country, try to keep your trip low-key. Thieves are extra greedy at this time of year and may need to find gifts for their friends and families, so be vigilant and don’t advertise your holiday on social media or leave notes on the front door for the delivery man! You can also install security lighting timers and radios to make it look you’re home even when you’re not. You can find more information about these here. Finally, ask a neighbour to keep a watchful eye and maybe bob around once a day to check that everything’s in place and as it should be!
4. Out of sight, out of mind
At 24|7 Home Rescue, we know how tempting it can be to get some nicely wrapped presents under the tree straight away to make your home feel that extra bit Christmassy. If you have children, it’s a given that Santa doesn’t come until Christmas Eve anyway. But if you don’t, try to resist leaving them out in the weeks or days building up to the big day – keep them hidden and out of sight, or keep your blinds and curtains closed!
5. Stay secure
Look at upgrading your locks and investing in new security measures for your home and garden. The nights are getting darker, earlier, and it can be pitch black before we even have chance to get home from work. Motion-sensor lights, pets and CCTV are all effective ways of alarming potential thieves and getting them in panic mode where they’ll want to be as far away from the property as possible. If you live in a rural or set-back area that isn’t well-lit, look at installing some floodlights around the grounds of your home and up the driveway. Most thieves make their moves at night because it’s dark and they can’t be seen, so if you take away that factor they’re less likely to bother. If you didn’t see our post last month on how to step up your home security, check it out here.
4. Get serviced
Make sure everything is in perfect working order before the Christmas and New Year period. Not only are you too busy to deal with a boiler breakdown, but it can also be harder to get hold of an engineer if you don’t have cover in place. You can compare our boiler cover plans here.
5. Check insulation
Stock up on pipe insulation wherever you have exposed pipes and check the insulation in the loft or attic. It compresses over time and attics are designed to have about 13-14 inches on insulation.
6. Stock up on batteries
Purchase plenty of batteries for winter. You’ll not only need them for Christmas day toys and gadgets, but also to regularly change the batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
For more advice on preparing your home for winter, read our checklist.