Get your home ready for the hazards of winter

The leaves have started to fall and there’s a chill in air – all clear signs that winter is here. As it becomes increasingly colder, our homes provide a delightful, warm relief from the coming icy blue days. But before hibernation, there are a few things you should do around the house which could save you money and hassle later.

Here are some practical maintenance ideas which can get your home into great shape for the winter:

Roof maintenance

With the summer rains gone, it’s a good time to check the roof for any leaks or damage and carry out any required repairs. Regular roof maintenance will not only save you money in the long run, but it will protect your biggest investment – the house itself.

Clean gutters and downspouts

While you’re on the roof, clear gutters of leaves, twigs and other debris; make this a regular task (and be careful!). Heavy rains and an overflowing gutter can cause a leaking roof and further damage. Clogged gutters also cause rainwater to pool the rain could find its way into the house.

Check the downpipes too – make sure the rainwater has somewhere to go. Large pools of water gathering at ground level can cause rising damp or even harm the foundations.

Damp

Take advantage of the dry weather to damp-proof your house. Dampness can be caused by rain, flooding or poor drainage. If left unchecked, this can cause several problems such as musty smelling interiors, paint peeling from walls and ceilings, and swollen wooden doors and window frames.

Leak alert

Leaks not only let in the rain, they also let out the heat. Check around windows and doors for leaks and draughts and ensure that you patch up any holes before the rain sets in.

Insulate your home

Without proper insulation, homes lose a great deal of heat through floors, walls and ceilings. This means keeping the heaters on to replace warmth which is constantly being lost, increasing energy usage. Start by insulating ceilings (heat rises) to gain the biggest benefit of reduced heat loss.

If you’re not using your chimney, make sure that the damper is closed to prevent hot air from escaping from the room.

Heating

If you have an air-conditioning heating system, ensure that it is working efficiently and replace the air filter regularly for optimal functioning. To reduce energy usage, invest in energy efficient heaters such as gas and wall panel heaters.

Tip: It takes less energy to warm up a cold room in the morning than it does to maintain a constant temperature throughout the night.

Regular maintenance is key

Whether it’s doing small touch-ups around the house or major projects, regular inspections coupled with maintenance is the best way to protect your home. This will not only save you time and money in the long-run, but will also limit you from possible insurance claims, the associated cost of paying the excess or having your claim rejected.

For more information on home and content insurance, visit www.miway.co.za

MiWay is an Authorised Financial Services Provider (Licence no: 33970)

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