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Winter-proof your home


As the days get shorter and colder, there’s nothing better than retreating indoors and snuggling up on the sofa with a good book or classic film. But having this spoiled by a home emergency can add a real chill to your winter warmth, especially if it’s preventable.

Planning ahead now can help protect you against potential problems like the boiler breaking, burst pipes or a break-in.

Here are some simple tips to help prevent home emergencies happening. Many of them are relatively quick and easy to do.

Quick fixes

  • Change the battery in your smoke detector or install them if you don’t have any - it’s a simple task that can save your life. And make sure you test them regularly.
  • Check that your TV aerial is securely attached. Trying to fix the aerial in January will be much harder due to the cold and wet.
  • Inspect your roof for missing or cracked tiles. If repairs are needed, roofing experts are just a phone call away.
  • Vacuum the coils on the back of the fridge. This will help your fridge work more efficiently and will help you save money on your power bills.
  • Turn your mattress regularly. We all spend more time in bed over winter - turning your mattress regularly will extend its life and ensure a more comfortable night’s sleep.
  • Get your boiler serviced. If you haven’t had your boiler serviced this year, now is the ideal time to ensure it’s in good working order.

More time needed

  • Oil your power tools and if you have a petrol-powered lawn mower, drain the petrol from it. They will survive the winter better and be in top shape for spring.
  • Check all taps for leaks and locate the main pipe to the water mains. Pipes can burst if they freeze so if you leave home for more than a few days, ideally you should turn off the water and drain the pipes. Drain garden hoses too.
  • Bleed your radiators by opening the valve until water appears - they will work more efficiently.
  • The cold doesn’t deter burglars so be sure to inspect your locks and any burglar alarms - and consider using lighting timers for that lived in appearance.

Worth the effort

It may take a day or two to sort out but cleaning your gutters properly will help prevent them getting blocked or overflowing.

  • Trimming back trees is always recommended in the autumn.
  • Clean out the garage before anything is stored that can get spoiled by the cold.

Emergency kit

Finally, preparing an emergency kit is a great way to make those small and big emergencies as easy to handle as possible. This is what you should have to hand:

  • A small tool bag containing a torch, a roll of insulation tape, spare fuses, spare batteries and a screwdriver
  • A radiator key
  • A fire extinguisher if you have one, checked or recently replaced
  • Important telephone numbers like the police, a trusted plumber and electrician, and most importantly the number of your home insurance company.

Taking precautions and planning ahead can save you a great deal of time and effort later, but things could still go wrong. The best way to protect yourself is by taking out home insurance with a trusted provider.

How can John Lewis Insurance help?

John Lewis Home Insurance provides cover for loss or damages caused by fire, flood, subsidence, theft or other specified causes. If you choose our Premier Cover, Accidental Damage Cover is included as standard.

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John Lewis Insurance is a trading name of John Lewis plc. Registered office: 171 Victoria Street, London SW1E 5NN. Registered in England (No. 233462). John Lewis plc is an appointed representative of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. John Lewis Home Insurance is underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc (No. 93792). Registered in England and Wales at St. Mark's Court, Chart Way, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1XL. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (Financial Services Register No. 202323). Calls may be recorded and monitored.

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