Tuesday 16 January 2018

With frost, prevention is better than curing damage

www.onlinetradesman.com

Each year many home owners are hit in the pocket because of damage caused by frost, but most home insurance providers don't cover this. So what simple things can we do today to protect our property?

Looking at some of the repair jobs we get on www.onlinetradesmen.ie, a lot could be prevented. This will also help lessen the impact of frost and prevent you having to make costly repairs.

Here's eight tips to make sure your house is frost-proofed.

1. Service your boiler and insulate your pipes

Call in a professional to service your boiler and make sure your boiler's 100pc. Also check any pipework and insulation. Frost and extreme temperatures can cause burst pipes, which could leave you without heating and hot water, so put preventative measures in place.

2. Clear paths and gutters

Blocked gullies mean that water has to find an alternative escape route – and if that means it's running down an outside wall, bricks could get damaged. Water's bad enough, but once frost sets in bricks can be ruined. Give guttering and down pipes a once over to make sure there are no leaks or cracks, particularly where two sections join.

3. Check your paintwork

If frost gets into loose paintwork, cracks or open joints it can really take hold. You can really see this in the external woodwork.So inspect the outside of your house and fill gaps where necessary.

Check your paintwork, especially vulnerable areas such as the tops and bottoms of doors and sand down, and prime and repaint if there are chips.

4. Insulate your loft

Do you know how good your loft insulation is? Get up the ladder and take a look. Experts recommend it's at least 27cm thick. Not only will that make your house warmer and less susceptible to frost damage, but you'll save money on heating bills too.

5. Inspect your roof

Check your roof's watertight and that no tiles are cracked or missing. Then take a look at the pointing and fill in any cracks or missing cement.

You may be able to check low level roofs, such as those on conservatories and sheds, yourself but it might be worth getting some professional advice to give the roof of your house the once over.

6. Clean up your garden

Cut back tree branches that hang near your house, remove creepers from the walls and remove any moss that's built up over the summer, as it can act like a sponge and retain water which could cause damage to your brickwork.

Plants like ivy can also cause cracks in the brickwork, allowing water in which can cause further damage if it freezes.

7. Keep an eye on snow

If you live in an area where you know it's going to be freezing, it might be worth installing snow guards on conservatories or roof heaters in particularly harsh locations.

Once snow does hit, rake it off your roof wherever possible or get a professional in to do it for you.

8. Protect your brickwork

Frost can easily cause damage to brickwork and mortar on your house and garden walls and chimneys.

These areas are constantly exposed to the elements and when water gets in to the porous bricks, it freezes and expands causing the face of the brick to break off.

If you live in an older home, the mortar on your chimneys may also be susceptible to frost.

It's a good idea to check your bricks and chimneys and get any potential problems repaired by a professional before they develop.

Irish Independent

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