'MOT' your home

Take action now to help prevent a burst pipe

November 2011

'MOT' your home

Simple steps to help you prepare your home for winter

You may take your car in for a pre-winter check to help it withstand the cold weather. But have you ever thought of doing the same for your most valuable asset – your home?

Last year homeowners faced an average bill of £596 for home emergencies caused by the harsh winter weather.*

A burst pipe is the most common call-out during the winter months, according to the AA's Home Emergency Response experts, and a repair can often exceed this amount.

You could save yourself the cost and distress of a household emergency, simply by spending an hour giving your home this basic 'MOT'.

Inside your home

  • Get your boiler serviced regularly by a qualified Gas Safe-registered engineer; book it before the weather gets really cold if it’s due an annual service soon
  • Get the chimney swept if you regularly use an open fire or log-burning stove
  • Make sure you know where your mains water stop is located (it’s usually under the sink or stairs)
  • Bleed your radiators, if you know how to, as air pockets reduce their efficiency
  • Check pipes and water tanks for missing insulation and replace as necessary
  • Check windows and doors for draughts and fit draught excluders or repair seals as necessary
  • Keep windows free of condensation

Outside your home

  • Walk around your home and check to see if there are any missing or damaged roof tiles
  • Check guttering from ground level by looking for signs of water overflowing during heavy rain – get someone to help if you're not confident on a ladder
  • Check exterior walls for any damage that could let water in and inspect windows for cracked panes; arrange repairs if necessary
  • Make sure that brick air-vents are clear from obstruction
  • Clear drain gratings and pathways
  • Consider purchasing sand or salt, and a shovel, for clearing driveways and paths
  • Turn off and drain external water taps and store garden hoses in a frost-free place
  • Lubricate external locks and padlocks with a water dispersant

If you're in any doubt, get professional help and advice.

We also offer comprehensive motoring advice to help prevent you from breaking down this winter.

* Source: AA research undertaken by ICM between 25 and 27 February 2011, with 2003 respondents from across the UK.