Cold weather precautions for householders

Published October 21st, 2015

As the nights draw in and temperatures drop, it is well worth completing some simple tasks on your home to avoid damage to the property and potential discomfort to the people inside.

As specialists in rural and country property, Berrys has drawn up 10 tips to keep your home safe and warm during the winter.

1 Stopcock You should know the location of the stopcock. It is usually under the kitchen sink or close to the sink where the rising main enters the property. Check it not seized so that should a burst occur you can  turn it off  immediately.

2 Heating The boiler should be serviced and checked each year and a gas safety certificate held for gas appliances. If you have an  oil fired boiler, check you have adequate heating oil to last over the Christmas holidays . Running out of oil can lead to sediment from the bottom of the tank entering the boiler and causing damage.

3 Pipes If you are going away over the holidays ensure that there is adequate heating left on in the property to prevent water pipes and tanks freezing. The best option  is to leave heating on at a low level (12C). For prolonged periods, if the heating is not left on, turn the water off and drain the system.

4 Gutters, Downpipes and Drains Clear all gutters, downpipes and drains of leaves and debris.

5 Chimneys Whether you use your fire regularly or not we advise that it be swept at least once a year and a certificate of sweeping obtained (if you are renting, this might be a requirement of your tenancy)

6 Garden Maintenance Consider what pruning needs to take place especially to plants growing against the property, such as ivy and creepers, as these can cause costly damage.

7 Vermin Control With the cold weather comes the increased risk of vermin migrating towards properties and outbuildings in search of food and shelter. Prevention is better than cure, so don’t leave rubbish and food in places that encourage vermin and  if rats and mice do become a problem contact your local authority or take appropriate advice.

8 Smoke Alarms Check that all smoke alarms are in good working order and are safely secured to the ceiling. Rental properties should also have carbon monoxide alarms fitted in each room with a burning device (eg heating boilers, fires, stoves and gas cookers).

9 Neighbours If you know a neighbour it may be beneficial to ask them to keep emergency contact details and also, if you are a tenant, the details of the landlord/agent.

10 Secure your property If you plan to be away for a period of time ensure that the property is fully secure. Locked windows and doors will deter opportunist thieves, while setting a light on a timer can be an effective additional security measure.

“We hope these 10 tips will keep you and your home safe and dry during the winter months and help prevent any unwanted emergency repair bills,” said Philip Robinson, residential agency manager at the Shrewsbury office of Berrys.

Contact your local Berrys office at:  Shrewsbury 01743 271697  Northwich  01606 49200;

Hereford 01544 598080; Kettering 01536 412464; Towcester 01327 356140 or email

Berrys specialises in property sales and lettings.