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Protect your country home this winter

  The nights are drawing in, the temperature is dropping and the coca-cola advert is already on TV, which can mean only one thing – winter is well and truly on its way. While you may have already started thinking about your Christmas present list and maybe even started to think of your New Year resolution, you may have overlooked the preparations needed for your house at this time of year. None more so than in the country where properties are more exposed to the harsh conditions this time of year brings. Here David King from Winkworth’s country house department gives his top tips of things to remember to keep your country home in the perfect condition over the cold winter months. 1) Check your exterior paintwork. In harsh weather conditions, cracks, joints or loose paintwork can allow frost to get in and can cause some serious damage. Make sure you sand down and re-paint any areas that look like they need a touch up. 2) Ensure pipes are properly lagged. If your pipes have the correct insulation then it means they are going to be much more efficient at heating your home, as there will be less heat loss. And that’s not the only benefit, as ensuring that warm air is moving around the house means that pipes are less likely to freeze, which can cause them to burst and cause costly damages to your home. Also checking to see that none of your taps are leaking can also help to prevent this and if in doubt locating the stop taps can definitely come in handy! 3) Have your boiler serviced. Guaranteeing your boiler is working efficiently means that will you be toasty warm this winter as it will decrease the likelihood of any problems that may cause it to break down. And as with checking your pipes are lagged, this means that you are likely to prevent further damage being cause to your home, such as frozen pipes. A boiler service will also pick up serious any problems it may have, which can be life-saving if it is leaking carbon monoxide, for example. Bleeding your radiators will also help to keep the heating working efficiently. 4) Get your chimney swept. In country houses you are more likely than not to find a traditional fireplace or log burning stove, so if you are using them this winter, make sure you have had your chimney swept, as if they’re blocked they are major hazards and can cause house fires. 5) Stock up on firewood and keep your oil tanks full. If you are using traditional methods to heat your home during the winter months, ensure you have enough firewood and oil to keep you going, and of course, make sure the wood doesn’t get damp! 6) Make sure your windows close properly and invest in draft excluders. You may have done all of the above and yet your home still may be not heating efficiently if you don’t check if your windows close properly and that there are no drafts coming from under the doors. Investing in draft excluders will not only help to keep the house warm but can also help to reduce the cost of your energy bill. 7) Clear leaves from gutters. If gutters become blocked, they can cause water to overspill and can cause damage if it falls directly on to your roof, gets into the soffits and enters your home or falls down the side of the building causing discolouration and damage. Water held in the gutters can also freeze in cold temperature meaning they can split, which can be costly to replace. Clearing them of leaves and other debris means that this is much less likely to happen and also goes towards your peace of mind that if a problem does occur, your insurance will cover the cost, as preventable damage if often not covered. 8) Check your roof for any loose or broken tiles. At the same time as checking your gutters, you should take the time to inspect your roof for any loose or broken tiles as during the winter months any water or snow can get in through gaps and spaces and cause damage. If there is heavy snow fall during the winter, raking off any that has settled on the roof can help too. 9) Buy salt for your driveway. Getting to your local shops in the country often involves a car ride, so making sure you have gritted your driveway means that you won’t be stuck and can go and buy supplies. 10) Stock up with food supplies. However, if you do get stuck in heavy snow, it is always a good idea to have some basic supplies in the house and some food in the freezer so that if you can’t get down to your nearest shop, you’re not stuck! For more information about the country homes department and houses currently for sale, visit http://www.winkworth.co.uk/our-services/country-houses

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The nights are drawing in, the temperature is dropping and the coca-cola advert is already on TV, which can mean only one thing – winter is well and truly on its way. While you may have already started thinking about your Christmas present list and maybe even started to think of your New Year resolution, you may have overlooked the preparations needed for your house at this time of year. None more so than in the country where properties are more exposed to the harsh conditions this time of year brings.

Here David King from Winkworth’s country house department gives his top tips of things to remember to keep your country home in the perfect condition over the cold winter months.

1) Check your exterior paintwork. In harsh weather conditions, cracks, joints or loose paintwork can allow frost to get in and can cause some serious damage. Make sure you sand down and re-paint any areas that look like they need a touch up.

2) Ensure pipes are properly lagged. If your pipes have the correct insulation then it means they are going to be much more efficient at heating your home, as there will be less heat loss. And that’s not the only benefit, as ensuring that warm air is moving around the house means that pipes are less likely to freeze, which can cause them to burst and cause costly damages to your home. Also checking to see that none of your taps are leaking can also help to prevent this and if in doubt locating the stop taps can definitely come in handy!

3) Have your boiler serviced. Guaranteeing your boiler is working efficiently means that will you be toasty warm this winter as it will decrease the likelihood of any problems that may cause it to break down. And as with checking your pipes are lagged, this means that you are likely to prevent further damage being cause to your home, such as frozen pipes. A boiler service will also pick up serious any problems it may have, which can be life-saving if it is leaking carbon monoxide, for example. Bleeding your radiators will also help to keep the heating working efficiently.

4) Get your chimney swept. In country houses you are more likely than not to find a traditional fireplace or log burning stove, so if you are using them this winter, make sure you have had your chimney swept, as if they’re blocked they are major hazards and can cause house fires.

5) Stock up on firewood and keep your oil tanks full. If you are using traditional methods to heat your home during the winter months, ensure you have enough firewood and oil to keep you going, and of course, make sure the wood doesn’t get damp!

6) Make sure your windows close properly and invest in draft excluders. You may have done all of the above and yet your home still may be not heating efficiently if you don’t check if your windows close properly and that there are no drafts coming from under the doors. Investing in draft excluders will not only help to keep the house warm but can also help to reduce the cost of your energy bill.

7) Clear leaves from gutters. If gutters become blocked, they can cause water to overspill and can cause damage if it falls directly on to your roof, gets into the soffits and enters your home or falls down the side of the building causing discolouration and damage. Water held in the gutters can also freeze in cold temperature meaning they can split, which can be costly to replace. Clearing them of leaves and other debris means that this is much less likely to happen and also goes towards your peace of mind that if a problem does occur, your insurance will cover the cost, as preventable damage if often not covered.

8) Check your roof for any loose or broken tiles. At the same time as checking your gutters, you should take the time to inspect your roof for any loose or broken tiles as during the winter months any water or snow can get in through gaps and spaces and cause damage. If there is heavy snow fall during the winter, raking off any that has settled on the roof can help too.

9) Buy salt for your driveway. Getting to your local shops in the country often involves a car ride, so making sure you have gritted your driveway means that you won’t be stuck and can go and buy supplies.

10) Stock up with food supplies. However, if you do get stuck in heavy snow, it is always a good idea to have some basic supplies in the house and some food in the freezer so that if you can’t get down to your nearest shop, you’re not stuck! For more information about the country homes department and houses currently for sale, visit http://www.winkworth.co.uk/our-services/country-houses

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