Ensure your home is ready for winter weather

Outside:

* Check the condition of the roof. Look for cracked or broken tiles, cracks in the chimney or problems with the pointing. If any repairs are needed, hire a professional roofing contractor to carry out the work as soon as possible;
* Clear the gutters and drain pipes of any leaves or debris that have built up in them to reduce the risk of blocks and overflows;
* Keep gates and outbuilding doors fastened securely and secure any other loose items;
* Check external light fittings are secure;
* Cut back low hanging branches that could cause damage in high winds or storms.

Inside:

* Have your boiler serviced at least once a year by a GasSafe registered professional and have the central heating and gas fires checked to ensure they are working safely and efficiently;
* Check that the loft is insulated properly but also has adequate ventilation;
* Thicker curtains will help to keep more heat in the home;
* Keep the central heating set to at least 10 degrees to prevent pipes from freezing.

In an emergency:

* Keep a home emergency kit prepared in case of a winter emergency such as a severe snowstorm. This could include torches, spare bulbs and batteries, your home insurance documents, other emergency contact details, tinned food, warm clothing, blankets and a shovel;
* Listen to the radio or check online for regular updates on the weather or other emergency situations.

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