Let Your Property

Protect Your Holiday Cottage in Wintertime

During the winter months, not only is the harsh cold and stormy weather more likely to cause damage to holiday homes, but the chance of burglary also increases.

A little time and work now can save you a lot of trouble (and money) later. Here are some precautions you may take to protect your holiday cottage from the harsh winter weather.

Utilities, plumbing, and appliances

When the temperature drops in the winter, the chance of frozen pipes bursting in abandoned homes increases. A burst pipe can be disastrous, inflicting thousands of pounds in damage as well as significant annoyance. One of the most common insurance claims is for water to escape.
Drain the heating system and turn off the water supply to ensure that no water in the pipes could freeze, reducing the possibility of an escape of water claim. Turning off the water isn’t enough; you also need to drain the water to eliminate the risk of burst pipes and water damage.
Pipes and water tanks should be insulated.
To prevent residual water from freezing, flush the toilet cisterns and then sprinkle a cup of salt down the toilets and plug holes.
Fill the toilet with clean bleach and cover it with cling film. This reduces evaporation and keeps the water clean.
Unplug all unneeded electrical equipment if you must leave the power on to reduce the risk of fire and power surges.
Turn off the fridge/freezer and leave the doors open after emptying and cleaning it.

Also, remember to switch off the gas if you’re going to be gone for an extended period of time. If your home is heated with oil, your supplier should be able to inform you what extra precautions you should take to avoid oil gelling/freezing and blockages during extremely cold weather.

Avoid damp

Interior mould is not only dangerous to one’s health. It can also destroy soft furnishings and create ugly streaks and mould on the walls. Try these tips to lessen your chances of returning to surface mould in the spring:

Dehumidifiers that run on electricity are great. Use one that shuts off automatically when it needs to be emptied or one that allows water to flow into a shower tray, sink, or other drains.
Alternatively, place portable dehumidifier boxes throughout the house or use cat litter in a tray as a less expensive solution. This absorbs excess moisture from the air, reducing dampness.
Ventilation is one of the most effective methods for preventing excessive moisture build-up and wetness. Allow air to move between rooms by leaving doors open. Once a month, and on a dry day, open doors and windows to let fresh air in for about an hour.
To prevent mould, buy some cheap bed sheets and drape them over your furniture and furnishings.
To allow air to flow, move furniture away from walls and moist windows.
To store bedding, cushions, and other items, use vacuum bags.

How to keep your home safe this winter

After the clocks go back and the winter nights become darker, burglaries often increase by a third. Empty holiday properties are easy to find. These precautions, on the other hand, can help to lessen the possibility of break-ins and burglaries.

In a garage or shed, safely store outdoor furniture and loose things from the garden. Nothing that can be blown around by strong winds or stolen should be left outside.
When you leave, double-check that all of your windows and doors are locked to avoid unauthorised entry. Typically, five-lever mortice deadlocks are advised.
Make sure padlocks are installed on garages, sheds, and gates.
Install smart equipment that can be controlled remotely, such as CCTV cameras, motion sensors, heat/flood detectors, and thermostats, to monitor threats.
Put interior lights on a timer to give the impression that someone is home. As a deterrent, place motion-activated lighting on the exterior of the house.
Having valuables on display can lure opportunistic robbers, so keep them hidden.
Most opportunist criminals are deterred by a burglar alarm, which, if activated, can alert neighbours that the property has been entered into.
At least once a week, have a neighbour or a property manager evaluate your empty vacation home for damage.
This tutorial has considerably more security advice.

And finally, remember this:

Vermin are attracted to food. Food should be stored in metal containers with tight lids if it is left on the premises. Examine the loft for droppings, odours, and evidence of nibbling or chewing.

Even if you’re only going to be away from your vacation home for a few weeks during the winter, you should read our tips on how to avoid frozen pipes and bursts.

You can never totally eliminate the possibility of damage, but you can make efforts to lessen the likelihood of it occurring. Here is a list of winter maintenance duties that every holiday property owner should complete.

Make a note of everything you’ve accomplished so that when you return, you’ll remember everything that needs to be “undone.”

Examine your insurance coverage.

More than half of Britons do not read their insurance policy’s terms and conditions. It’s a truism that your vacation property is most vulnerable while it’s unoccupied.

If you plan on leaving your holiday cottage unattended for an extended period of time over the winter, check your insurance policy for occupancy limits and winter warranties.

Is it required that you:

Unplug the heating system.
Keep the temperature at a minimum.
Increased safety
Inspect the vacation house on a regular basis.

If you don’t comply with these stipulations, your insurance coverage may be voided. You should also be aware that claims resulting from poor maintenance and wear and tear are unlikely to be paid by insurers.

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