How to get ready for heavy snowfall

There’s nothing like that first snow day. But the reality of a heavy drift soon hits if you’re unprepared.

So we’ve put together our checklist to help you get your home ready for the white stuff.

Be prepared for what winter may bring.

1. Improve your insulation

It goes without saying that proper loft insulation is a big part of a warm and an efficient home.

But you should also think about weatherproofing the gaps around your windows and doors with weather stripping tape – you’ll find it at most DIY stores.

Or you can use plastic insulation backing on your windows to keep the cold out – and your energy bills down.

2. Protect your pipes

Insulate your pipes to stop them from freezing when temperatures fall below zero. You can buy insulating tubing cheaply from DIY stores, and it’s simple to fit.

To avoid your pipes freezing in cold weather, we recommend setting your thermostat to at least 7°C - even if you’re not at home. The Hive Thermostat has a built-in Frost Protection feature which automatically turns your heating on if the temperature drops below 7°C.

And don’t forget to fix any leaky taps – even a small trickle can cause a big problem with the weather drops.

Read our guide for other ways to keep your pipes safe during the winter.

3. Think about your heat sources

Have a wood burner? Don’t forget to store extra firewood indoors, just in case you can't get outdoors due to bad weather.

Or if you use electric heaters, remember to keep them at least three feet away from furniture and curtains.

To be extra safe, only use heaters with automatic shut-off switches and non-glowing elements.

Keeping the chills at bay.

4. Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Did you know there's an increased risk of house fires during cold weather? That’s because more people resort to alternative heat sources like log burners and electric heaters to keep the chill off.

So it’s vital that you regularly test your smoke alarms and C02 detectors to make sure they’re working properly. And always clear any ventilation outlets after a snowfall to keep them working efficiently.

5. Remind yourself where your stopcock is

When it’s really cold outside, your pipes can freeze over – which could lead to a burst pipe. If that happens, you’ll need to shut off the mains water supply as quickly as possible to limit the damage.

So it’s worth double-checking where your stopcock is before that happens, just in case. It’s usually under the kitchen sink or in a cupboard on an exterior wall.

6. Prepare for no heating

While it’s unlikely that a heavy snowfall will leave you without any heating, it's always worth keeping sleeping bags, blankets and warm coats handy.

Just in case, we’ve got the lowdown on what to do if you have no central heating.

To keep your boiler running smoothly and minimise the risk of being without heating or hot water, it’s a good idea to have a boiler service by a Gas Safe engineer before cold weather comes. They’ll make sure it’s in good working order and carry out any repairs if need be.

7. Prepare your outside space

Trim overhanging branches

Tree branches that hang over your property could suddenly break under the extra weight of snow and ice – causing damage to your home. So do a quick check outside and trim off any that pose a risk.

Pick up a snow shovel and some rock salt (or sand)

A sturdy snow shovel and gritting salt or sand will be invaluable if you find yourself snowed in. They’ll help you keep your footpaths and driveway clear and safe during an icy spell.

And don’t forget to keep your window and doorframes clear of snow, as it could seep into the frame itself and cause mould.

Fix problem roof tiles and chimneys

Your roof protects you from the elements, so it’s important that it’s in tip top condition.

If your roof is unstable, it could crack or even cave in under heavy snowfall. And what’s worse, if it wasn’t kept in good shape, there’s a good chance your home insurance won’t cover it.

So check it over for any loose and broken tiles, or any signs of damage before bad weather hits – and always find a trusted tradesman to carry out any work.

Clear your gutters

Dirt, moss and other debris can build up in your gutters during the year. And when combined with snow, it could lead to leaks and breakages. So always give them a good clear out before winter sets in.

8. Gather essential supplies

Make an emergency kit

It’s a good habit to have at least three days’ worth of food and essentials stored in an easy-to-reach part of your home.

That’s things like medicines, drinking water, non-perishable food and snacks, and extra blankets. You should also keep a torch, batteries and a phone charger close by too.

Make a car kit

De-icer, scrapers, wiper fluid and anti-freeze will all come in handy if you need to drive during a cold snap.

You might even want to keep some jump leads in the boot in case your car doesn’t start.

And before going on any journeys, make sure you’ve got some food, water, a torch, your phone and charger, plus a blanket or two with you.

9. Give your car a once over  

Have your brakes, heater, tyres and windscreen wipers checked to make sure they're in good working order before winter.

And if you can keep your fuel tank half full during snowy conditions, all the better.

Take care of each other.

10. And take care of each other

  • When severe weather hits, you might find yourself stranded away from home. So plan how you’ll stay in contact with the rest of your household and where you’ll meet if you can’t get home due to heavy snow
  • Check in on elderly or vulnerable relatives and neighbours to make sure they’ve got everything they need to get through a cold snap
  • Consider keeping your pets indoors when the weather turns particularly cold – and remember, anti-freeze is highly toxic to both dogs and cats
  • Be careful on icy paths and when clearing heavy snow.

We’re here to help you look after your home. So whether it’s servicing your boiler and heating, or sorting out your home insurance – you can count on us.

And for complete peace of mind that we’ll be there when you need us, why not take out HomeCare cover? Get a quick and easy quote.

Back to the Source