We all know how hit-and-miss the weather can be in the wintry months. JLife spoke to two experts to find out how you can winter-proof the home…
Gwyn Roberts is Home Quality Mark (HQM) project leader and BRE Homes and Communities team leader. HQM launched in 2015 and addresses a public desire for a consumer-focused housing standard that is authoritative, clearly understandable and communicates the immediate and tangible benefits of high-quality housing. Here, Gwyn shares his thoughts on home care in extreme weather.
The freezing cold and snowy winter that is forecast could affect millions. Our changing climate means winters are deeper but that temperatures can also soar in the summer, and this only stresses the importance of high quality housing that not only promotes a better living and wellbeing standard, but that is also future-proofed and weather resilient.
Compared to countries such as Sweden, which experiences considerably colder winters, the UK still has 40% more hospital admissions per every 100,000 people each year due to respiratory illnesses. Such illnesses are often the result of household damp, condensation and poor airflow, all of which can be avoided when living in well-designed new properties.
- Home buyers are urged to take health, wellbeing, and energy factors into consideration when selecting new homes.
- HQM-rated homes showcase cutting-edge design, enhanced insulation and high-calibre ventilation to combat heat loss during cold periods.
- Double and triple-glazed windows considerably increase homes’ heat retention.
- Roof and wall insulations also help retain help, which in turns saves energy costs.
- Natural air sources (air source heat pumps) help maintain ventilation of fresh warm or cold air during extreme winters or summers.
Joanne Searle is regional manager, Home Claims, at Direct Line Insurance. Here, she shares a quick-glance guide to preparing the home against two major weather systems…
If your property is at risk of flooding:
- Ensure any drains and gutters are clear of debris so rainfall can drain from your property effectively.
- Place valuable and electrical items in high cupboards or take them upstairs to reduce the impact of any flood damage.
- Ensure outdoor furniture and other items likely to float away are safely restrained to reduce the risk of these items causing secondary damage or being lost.
- Establish an evacuation plan for your family. This will reduce the risk of injury to your loved ones and give you more time to save items of sentimental and material value.
- While it is safe to use electrical equipment, keep up to date with the latest weather and flood warnings by monitoring local television and radio services.
- Store important documents, including insurance policy details and useful contact numbers in a watertight bag in a dry accessible place, preferably upstairs.
- Make a list of useful numbers you may need – your insurer, your local council, the emergency services and the number of Floodline, which is 0345 988 1188.
- Buy and fit air brick covers and flood boards to block doorways.
Before high winds strike:
- Shut and lock all windows and doors. Damage to garage and shed doors are also common claims so be sure to keep these locked when not in use. This will not only prevent the wind blowing them off the hinges, it is good practice to keep your property secure to avoid an opportunist burglary.
- Remove any debris or loose items from outside your home while it is safe to do so.
- If possible, put your car in a garage or avoid parking near trees and other objects that could become unstable.
- Check where your family and any pets will be during the expected storm.
- Be prepared for power cuts by having a torch and blanket to hand.