Going away this Christmas? How to prepare your home…

December 15th 2014
By: Melanie Hollidge

If like many homeowners you are going away this festive season then you will probably be thinking about how best to prepare your home for your imminent departure.
A difficult thing to decide is whether you should turn off your mains water supply or not, and there is no clear answer to this question. If you have central heating then you should leave this ticking over whilst you are away, set your thermostat to around 16 degrees and to come on twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. If you have individual thermostats on your radiators, you could set these to the frost symbol, which will keep your room around 4 degrees. This will prevent any of the pipes freezing in your loft space or home. If you don’t have central heating then the best thing to do to prevent the pipes from freezing in your roof is to set an electric heater to come on in one of the rooms below or in your lost space, and if possible on a frost setting, as hot air rises this will just help to prevent the pipes from freezing and bursting. Another way of preventing your pipes from bursting if it’s cold is by insulating them with pipe insulation. One factor many home owners don’t realise is that as part of your insurance you will need to make sure your home stays above 4 degrees to prevent damage caused by burst pipes, failure to do this could invalidate it.  
Make sure that your home is properly secure, and that all of your windows and doors have adequate burglar devices, again check your insurance, most insurance companies now ask for 5 lever mortice locks to be fitted to exterior doors and well as window locks to be fitted to all windows. If you have a side gate to the back of your home, then make sure this is locked with a padlock, as well as any outbuildings. If you have a security light on the back of your home then make sure this is in operation.
Ask a trusted neighbour to go in your home every few days and just pick up the post, open the curtains and put out any bins, to try and make it look as though there is someone in your property. Try not broadcast your departure and avoid posting photos onto your social media platforms during your trip.   
Another item to consider is emptying out your fridge and freezer before you go away, to avoid losing any frozen items if there is a power cut.