*contributed collaborative post
If you’ve checked the weather forecast recently, been on the school run or have a weather obsessed husband like me, it won’t have slipped your attention that here in the UK we have some icy weather on the way- some really cold weather in fact. Blizzards, ‘thundersnow’ and temperatures of an arctic minus sixteen have been predicted. Even if you’re not really one for massively preparing for storms, this cold weather appears to be a little different, and so it’s worth getting organised. Here are a few ideas of how you can go about it.
Protect your home and garden
Our homes can take a real hit during bad weather, but there are a few things you can do to protect your property. Disconnect and drain your garden hose, and turn off the water supply to your outdoor tap. This will stop it from freezing, cracking and bursting. You can also buy foam insulators to put over the top. Speaking of burst pipes, locate your main stopcock and ensure you’re easily able to turn it to switch off the water supply if needed. That way, if anything does happen to burst you don’t end up with tonnes of water damage too. You can buy foam insulation covers to protect pipes, it’s an easy DIY job for most people (depending on how accessible your pipes are due to your flooring) but you can always ask a plumber to do it for you.
If you have any loose or missing roof tiles or any issues around the home that will be made worse by a storm or cold weather then see if you’re able to get them sorted within the next few days. Remove any loose items from around the garden such as bicycles, garden equipment or things that could be blown around and lock them in your shed or garage.
Put your car in the garage
Speaking of the garage, if you have a garage at home then utilise it. Instead of parking on the drive, put it in the garage and lock it up. Cars don’t tend to like cold weather already, but keeping it out of snow, high winds (which can throw gravel and stones around) and ice can prevent it from getting damaged. You can easily end up with scratches and chips in the paintwork, even a shattered windscreen from heavy hail. If you don’t have a garage, park your car close to a building which will offer at least some protection, you can also buy car storm covers. At the very least, make sure all of the windows are rolled up so that rain and snow can’t get into the interior, causing mould and water damage.
Stock up supplies
When cold weather is approaching, everyone can go a bit mad and stock up their home like they’re preparing for some kind of zombie apocalypse! While you don’t need to go and clear the shelves, it really does make sense to purchase some supplies. Stormy weather can be very dangerous, people do die in storms even here in the UK and so you don’t want to have to run out to get the things you need unless you absolutely have to. It makes sense from a financial point of view anyway to have a well stocked store cupboard with things like cans of vegetables and fish like tuna and salmon, jars of sauces, big bags of grains like pasta and rice and herbs and spices. That way, if you run out of fresh ingredients you can always rustle up something tasty from the store cupboard. It’s especially handy if you’re not able to get to the shops. Stock up your cupboards with long lasting items. Buy things like bread, eggs and fresh vegetables to last you for a week, and restock your freezer.
Don’t forget other supplies, such as cleaning products, toiletries and medication. If you’re on a prescription and it’s ready to run out, go and collect it before the weather takes a really bad turn. Ask yourself, if it was a worst case scenario and you couldn’t leave the house for a week- what would you need?
Ask your employer if you can work from home
More and more employers are getting on board with the idea of letting their staff work from home. If you have an office job or your work generally involves being on the computer then it’s often easy to be able to get it done without coming into work. Even if your employer isn’t completely on board with doing this on a permanent basis, you could see if they’d be willing to while the weather is bad.
When the roads are slippery and conditions are bad it can be dangerous to drive, and public transport may well be called off due to bad weather. Working from home at least prevents you from missing a day’s pay, and it benefits your workplace too since they’re not falling behind. Of course, for some types of jobs it won’t be an option but for others, working from home during the storm can be really beneficial.
Check your heating system
Chances are you’ll have already been using the heating extensively since late last year, so you’ll know if anything seems a little off. If your boiler is making funny noises, seems temperamental or your radiators and hot water aren’t heating up properly. You might need your radiators bleeding (which expels air trapped in the system) or you might need some adjustments made to your boiler. If you haven’t already then it’s worth looking into smart home. You can easily set schedules for the heating and ensure it doesn’t drop below a certain temperature at different times of day. It’s better than whacking it up to full every time it gets cold as it enables you to keep a more consistent temperature. Systems like Hive work well with Amazon Alexa, Google Home or right from your smartphone.
Are you ready for the upcoming cold snap? How will you be preparing?