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Prepare Your Property for Winter

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Whilst the goose is getting fat … how to beat break-ins, freezes and floods

Christmas is a-coming and whilst the goose is getting fat, now’s the time to spare a thought or two for the safety, security and protection of your home this festive season.

Freezing conditions

We’ve already suffered one especially cold snap and the Guardian newspaper on the 13th of November reported a Met Office warning to expect worse to come – thanks to exceptional La Niña weather events.

And the forecast icy conditions might spell certain trouble for your home unless a few precautions are taken in time:

  • lagging – it might sound old school, but it’s still important to keep all water pipes and their fittings well insulated;

  • the stopcock – if the worst happens and your plumbing springs a leak, you’ll need to know where the stopcock is in a hurry (usually, but not always, under the sink);

  • beat the draught – by using cheap and easy to install draught excluders around door and window frames;

  • maintain an ambient level of heat throughout the day and night by setting the controls of your heating system to come on for short periods of time;

  • service the boiler now, before the last-minute rush in the run up to any cold snap – an efficient boiler also helps to reduce energy bills;

  • winters bring storms and the possibility of flooding, especially if you are in a high-risk area, so make sure you know how to prepare your home when battening down the hatches (further reading: Guide to Flood Insurance);

  • damp patches on the walls upstairs may be early tell-tale signs of damage to your roof or problems with the gutters – which clearly needs to be repaired before the real downpours begin.

For a round-up of precautions to take as winter storm begin to set in, don’t forget to remind yourself of the tips and suggestions in our guides entitled Severe Weather Warning - How to Protect Your Home and Don't Regret Failing to Weatherproof Your Property.


Break-ins become much more common as winter draws on and the nights grow longer – with some Police forces even running 3 month winter burglary operations.

Here are some steps you can take to protect your property and, hopefully, deter burglars:

  • Christmas parties, shopping trips, trips away to visit friends and relatives are all times when your home is going to be temporarily unoccupied – so make sure you plan ahead for such absences;

  • timer light switches in strategic rooms may give opportunistic thieves the impression that someone is home even when you’re not and, if you are away for several days, consider asking a neighbour to park their car on your driveway from time to time to create a similar impression;

  • as Christmas approaches, you are also likely to be receiving more deliveries – of presents and goodies for all those parties – so make sure a public-spirited neighbour is persuaded to take them in for you when you are not at home;

  • home insurance policies arranged here at UKinsuranceNET reflect the likely increase in valuable goods in your house over the festive season and therefore automatically increase the total contents insured by a factor of as much as 10% - if you are not insured with us, make sure your home insurance provider offers seasonal additional contents cover;

  • even when your home is properly safeguarded by home insurance, however, never invite trouble by leaving valuable items in plain sight – move them or obscure the view with curtains or blinds;

Just a little candle burning in the night

  • it might look pretty, but the naked flame of that burning candle could easily set your whole home ablaze if left unattended – so make sure to snuff it out whenever you leave the house or leave the room for more than a few minutes;

  • similarly, fairy lights on your tree or around the mantelpiece should not be left on while you are out of the house – fires can happen;

  • Fire Protection Online suggests that fires in the home go up by as much as 50% during the festive Christmas season.

These tips and suggestions should hopefully help you enjoy a warm, cosy, safe and secure festive season – as well as throughout this coming winter.


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