As we brace ourselves for more rain and with parts of the country still on flood alert, others are dealing with the deluge of damage caused by the recent floods. Here are our tips on what to do if you live in an area at risk and find that flood water may be heading your way …
It is important to collect key documentation in a safe place upstairs. This includes insurance documents and helpline numbers, plus personal telephone book for relatives and friends, and a local directory for contacting tradesmen and the emergency services. You may also like to ensure passports and driving documents are safeguarded as well as bank, mortgage and credit card details.
Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies at the mains. Unplug all electrical items and store upstairs. If possible cover doors, windows and airbricks with plywood, metal sheeting or sandbags, which may be available from your local council. Take as many items of furniture and precious possessions as possible upstairs.
Where possible take photographs of your rooms. This will not only provide evidence to support any claim, but will remind you of what you have lost.
It is vital to keep abreast of the latest flood warnings and weather forecasts either via the Met Office website www.metoffice.gov.uk or television and radio broadcasts. The Environment Agency also operates a Floodline on 0845 988 1188 for up-to-date flood warnings.
As the nights draw in it’s time to prepare our homes for the winter chill, sub-zero temperatures, wind and rain.
Storm, flood and escape of water from frozen pipes are the biggest risk to homes in the winter months.
Adequately winter-proofing your home will make sure you aren’t left counting the cost and can also have the added benefit of reducing both your fuel bill’s and your CO2 emissions.
Prevention is key; most cases are preventable, it’s all about locating the problem and fixing it before it’s made worse by the ravages of the winter season.
- Pipes – the first step is to check lagging on water pipes and cisterns in unheated areas.
- Stop Tap – make sure you know the location of your stop tap so that you can turn off in an emergency – make sure stop taps are in good working order.
- Dripping Taps – should be repaired,
- Central Heating – get your boiler serviced prior to the onset of winter. If you are going away for the weekend, it’s a good idea to leave your central heating on low to prevent pipes freezing.
- Roof Tiles – check for any loose or missing tiles as you don’t want any rain coming in.
- Guttering – clear the build up of leaves to prevent rainwater spilling over, check the ends of guttering for blockages. Icicles hanging from guttering in a cold spell are also an indication of where your gutters may be blocked or leaking.
- Creeper plants – these can cause cracks in exterior brickwork which can be exacerbated if moisture gets in and then freezes.
- Tree branches – overhanging branches should be pruned back to avoid potential damage to your property.
- Chimneys – if using a wood burning stove or real fire, remember to get your chimney swept regularly as a blocked chimney is a major fire risk.
- Loft insulation – fitting insulation and draft excluders will not only keep your house warm but also reduce your energy bills.
- Finally, remember to check your building and contents insurance policies are up to date!
Our sister company ‘Auger’, site investigation and drainage specialists, featured in last night’s C4 Sarah Beeny show in which she helps a couple who fear their house is sinking. We proudly watched on as Iain took to the camera like a pro and assisted Sarah in investigating the cause of the subsidence and recommendations for repair.
For those who missed the show, see Iain in action here and learn how important it is to get a strucutural report done before you enter into any contractual arrangements when purchasing a property.
If you have cracks appearing or any other signs of movement give us a call now and find out how Brewsters team of structural engineers and surveyors can help you or find out more about our structural reports here.
Don’t miss the next show, Thursday at 8:00pm, C4!