Christmas is coming,
The geese are getting fat,
Please to put a penny,
In the old mans hat!
So says the old rhyme but a more modern version would say that you should also spend your time checking the gutters, the pipes and the insulation on your house before the winter weather arrives! Last winter saw a flood of home insurance claims as houses suffered from the worst Irish winter in 47 years! This year, according to David Hughes, Director of Home Insurance at Getcover, the motto is: “be prepared. Take simple steps now and you can avoid the pain and trauma associated with the loss of or damage to your property.”
One of the problems when it comes to protecting your property against the ravages of an Irish winter is that people tend to be away from their homes over the Christmas period. This means that small problems like a leak can develop into a serious problem if neglected. David believes that people can still go away on long Christmas breaks without worrying if they take a few precautions now while the weather is mild.
‘You have no idea just how much trauma people suffer when something goes badly wrong in their home. It can take weeks if not months to recover from damage caused by burst pipes or a badly leaking roof.’
To this end David recommends you take the following steps right now before winter arrives to protect your property.
Step 1: Clean your gutters and then wash them out with water. Rain and melting snow can cause ice dams, forcing water to leak into your house. Check for misaligned pipes and ensure the downspouts carry any water at least 10 feet away from the house.
Step 2: Check any flat, felt roof surfaces on your house. The felt surface can crack due to sunshine and general weathering and let in water and snow melt – with often disastrous consequences.
Step 3: Check pipe insulation. In Ireland – unlike many European countries – water tanks are generally located in the attic. This means that if your pipes burst the water has only one way to go – down onto your beautiful and expensive furniture and fittings. So insulate all pipes with foam, fibreglass insulation, or heating tape.
Step 4: If you are going away over the Christmas period, turn off the water at the mains, run your taps till the system is empty alternatively, if you will only be gone for a short period of time, open the attic door and ensure that your heaters come on regularly through your timer. “And get a good neighbour to drop to check that all is well with your property.” Adds David.
Step 5: Have your chimney swept before you use your fireplace this autumn. A blocked or uncleaned chimney can catch fire and can cause immense internal damage that is both costly and difficult to repair. Getting your chimney swept this autumn will be one of your best investments in time and money.
Step 5: Test your smoke detectors regularly. Change smoke detector batteries if necessary.
In conclusion David believes that protecting your home before the winter freeze will save you both worry and money. ‘It will also mean that you don’t have to make unnecessary claims on your home insurance policy and will rest easy in your bed at night or if you go away on a winter break.’
To check your own home insurance policy or find out how best how to protect your house this winter lo-call Getcover on 1850 851 297, call 01 290 8833 01 290 8833 or click on the Home Insurance tab on the Getcover website.