Are You Ready For A Big Freeze?

Are You Ready For A Big Freeze?
23 January 2014
A cold spell is predicted to hit various parts of Britain and as weather forecasters prepare us for the cold snap, homeowners and landlords are being encouraged to check heating systems and components in order to avoid disruption to heat supply in the event of adverse weather conditions.

Aside from central heating systems, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors has also advised homeowners to check gutters, roofs and water pipes and have advised that good maintenance is much cheaper than unexpected repairs.

Of course, it is not always possible to avoid problems caused by cold weather, but some simple steps can be taken in order to reduce the risk of getting left in the cold. 

Checking oil and gas boilers and ensuring that they have been serviced within the last 12 months is one of the easiest ways to avoid a common heating disaster. Aside from preventing against malfunctions, this also helps to ensure that your boiler does not present carbon monoxide concerns.

For oil central heating users, another simple way to maintain your heating system is to check the health and condition of your oil tank. Heating oil tanks are generally made from steel, or plastic. If your oil tank is manufactured from steel, inspect it for signs of rust or ageing. Rust or decay can indicate a weak point in the tank and could eventually lead to a split occurring. Likewise, if your oil tank is manufcatured from plastic, firstly, check the tank for signs of wear or ageing. Whilst plastic tanks are not prone to rust, older and particularly single skin tanks may show signs of cracking or bulging.

It is always best to opt for a bunded oil tank, as these tanks consist of a 'tank within a tank' design, ensuring that any split caused by weakness in the inner tank can be protected by the outer tank. In other words, should the inner tank fail, the outer tank can generally hold up to 110% of the inner tank's contents. This prevents a nasty and expensive oil spill from occurring - something which may not be covered by your home insurance policy.

Homeowners who are intending to holiday during half term in February are advised to empty water tanks and pipes so as to ensure that water contiained within either does not freeze and therefore cause a tank split or a burst pipe. Dripping taps should also be repaired as a priority.

Holidaying homeowners are also encouraged, where possible, to leave their central heating on low and to leave a loft door open in order to allow warm air to circulate in the property.

The message from all angles in advance of a cold spell is that prevention is better than a cure. Good property maintenance is the key to keeping your home and its contents safe this winter, whatever the weather.
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