Safe as Houses This Winter

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Winter can be a tough time for homeowners. Not only is the holiday season prime-time for break-ins, but the elements do tend to work against properties, making them much more difficult to keep safe and secure.

 

Fortunately, if you know what you are doing, you can ensure that your home is…well as safe as houses this winter season…

 

Secure the Property

 

The darkness, the fact that more people are likely to be away visiting relatives and the lure of holiday gifts are all an added incentive for burglaries in the winter months. That’s why, whether you’re at home or heading out, you should take the time to ensure that all of your doors and windows are locked. Remember to include the garage and any other outbuildings during these checks – so many people forget to do that, and it can lead to them losing some of their possessions to theft!

 

If you can, you should also invest in a burglar alarm, even a dummy one might do the trick, and if you’re going away, a light switch timer, so you can arrange for the lights to turn themselves on, because the average burglars are looking for an easy target – don’t give them one.

 

Install Entryway Lights

 

Installing lights around your entryways and actually turning them on in the evenings is another good way of deterring burglars and ensuring that you don’t have an accident as you fumble down your driveway late at night. That’s providing you remember to actually turn them on – another thing that so many people forget to do.

 

Clear the Gutters, Pipes and Drains

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At this time of year, if you want to avoid water damage to your property, you’re going to have to get up a ladder and remove all those dead leaves and other debris from the gutters and downpipes. Don’t forget the drains either! If it sounds like too dirty, or too cold a job for you to do yourself, try a local handyman. They probably won’t charge you too much for a quick clear-up!

 

Protect from Pests

 

Pests are always looking for warm places to lay their heads, and in winter, that can mean a nice space inside your home. If you don’t want to be visited by a rather different kind of guest to the usual ones this winter, there are a number of things you’ll want to do to keep the critters out. You can find out more here, but basically, you will need to go around your home checking for any cracks, holes or spaces that they can gain access through, at the very least. Obviously, hiring a professional will ensure that all bases are covered better than you may be able to, but it’s up to you how you go about your winter pest control.

 

Trim the Vegetation

 

If you have trees, plants bushes or vegetation of any sort up against your walls, then you need to cut them back. If you need to, put up a trellis for your climbers to cling to. Why? Because in the winter, any vegetation that gets blown around by the wind could potentially cause damage to the brickwork or the windows, it will also attract moisture which could cause a problem too.

 

Not only that but the fewer big shrubs and bushes you have surrounding your house, the fewer places there are for unsavory characters to hide away.

 

While you’re doing this, be sure to check for damaged bricks. If you find any look at this guide to repairing them or get a professional in. Be sure to check for damaged pointing too because the winter weather will only make it worse, and more expensive to fix, in the end.

 

Sweep the Chimney

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If you have a real fire, then you’re going to want to sweep the chimney if it hasn’t had much use in recent months. You’d be surprised how much debris can find its way in there, and if it is left it could actually cause a fire!

 

Insulate Your Pipes

 

If it gets very cold outside where you are, or if you are going away, it is never a bad idea to insulate your exterior pipes, so that should the temperatures reach freezing point, your pipes won’t burst leaving you with a huge mess to clear up.

 

It might seem like a lot of work, but taking these simple precautions will help to protect your home this winter, and quite possibly save you a lot of money and even heartache too.

 

 

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