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As we say farewell to the Summer, the Autumn/Winter period brings with it a flurry of new risks for homeowners to be aware of.  At this time of year, our 24/7, 365 days a year Home Emergency Helpline receives a significant increase in calls related to perils such as boiler breakdown, plumbing failures and security concerns as the evenings draw in.

Any emergency in the home can be incredibly costly, not to mention distressing, but to compound matters, an additional concern for many this year is soaring energy prices across the UK.

For this reason, we’ve compiled a list of top tips to help prepare your property for winter, and as a bonus, perhaps save a little money in the process!

Boiling point

Boiler breakdowns are responsible for around 40% of our Home Emergency calls at this time of year. Equally serious are the potential consequences should a boiler break down or develop a gas leak.

  • Increased time at home with the heating on over the winter means a carbon dioxide leak can be a bigger risk. It’s highly advisable to get boilers serviced annually by a Gas Safety registered engineer for peace of mind all year round.
  • Now is a good time to check boiler pressure. If a boiler loses pressure, it can seriously impact its efficiency, however, topping up can be quick and easy if you refer to your system’s manual.
  • Check the pilot light is on and re-light, if necessary, again, this can be done yourself following the instructions in the boiler manual.
Energy crunch

With the rise in energy prices, this is a good time to check heating systems to avoid costly breakdown but also ensure they are working efficiently and not wasting energy.

  • If you have an oil tank, top up now before prices peak in the winter, this will also ensure you don’t suddenly run out of fuel during the coldest months.
  • Using a heating timer can ensure the central heating runs smoothly, giving your home a comfortable, consistent temperature, preventing pipes from freezing or bursting.
  • Insulating or lagging pipes can also reduce a loss of heat and prevent them freezing and bursting.
  • Look out for any cracks or holes in the outside wall near pipework that may allow cold air into your pipes. Seal up any gaps or holes before they increase in size.
  • Keep the heating at a low level (above 4 degrees) if possible, even when your home is empty, this will maintain a consistent temperature around the pipes. If this is not possible:
    • Only heat the rooms you use regularly.
    • Close internal doors and draw the curtains at night to keep the heat in.
    • Use a hot water bottle or heated blanket to stay warm.
  • Test your heating to see if any of your radiators need bleeding and dust off any vents or filters on heating units or boilers to get the maximum benefit from them.
Venturing outdoors

Though we’ll inevitably be spending more time indoors over the coming months, it’s important to prepare the outside of your property too. As the nights get darker again, we see an increase in security risks and weather-related perils that could be avoided by some care and maintenance now.

  • Tidy the garden, check guttering and clean out any rubbish to prevent build up which can result in gutter collapses.
  • Secure any items that are suspectable to wind damage, for example, rubbish bins, pot plants or that summer gazebo, and regularly clear away fallen leaves to avoid build-up and potential slipping hazards.
  • Check the roof, outdoor lights and security systems, roof tiles can become loose at any time of year, which can lead to leaks throughout winter. If in doubt, we always recommend seeking the advice of a professional.
  • As the darker nights set in, check your outdoor lights along with any security system to ensure they are working correctly, and check that gates and fences are secure, and whether additional security is needed, for example sensor lights or cameras.

Arc Legal’s Home Emergency insurance is a bespoke service that gives policyholders peace of mind by providing a 24/7, 365-day service for a wide range of uninsured perils. This offering is focused on the specialist property market but can also be embedded into wider home insurance policies

Contact to find out how Home Emergency can help give your customers the peace of mind they need.

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