Preparing Your Park Home for the Winter
With the clocks due to go back, this is a good time to prepare your park home for winter. You are probably already making preparations for the cold season ahead, however the colder weather has its own unique challenges. If you are a park home owner, preparing your park home for the winter helps to reduce the risk of damage to your property.
Residential park homes are built to be extremely energy efficient, however as a detached property, each side of your home is exposed to the elements, which means you must maintain warmth during the winter months. Careful planning maximises efficiency of your park home, so we have put together some suggestions that will help you prepare your park home for the winter.
Insulate your park home to stop the cold air from creeping in. When the temperature is cold it tries to find a way of getting into your park home, so if you feel a draught, take action immediately to lock in the heat. Seal any gaps around your windows or doors to prevent draughts, as the edges of them are the biggest culprits. Check other areas of your park home where there could be gaps, remembering to still maintain some ventilation.
Get your boiler checked
A poorly maintained boiler could contribute to wasted energy inside your park home which ultimately leads to wasted money. It’s important to get your boiler serviced as it could leak carbon monoxide. It could even stop working leaving you without heat or hot water as well as a large bill for repairs or replacements.
Keep your pipes warm
Burst pipes during the winter months are very common, as pipes can freeze and thaw swiftly causing them to crack or break. The best way to prevent this from happening, is by insulating your pipes to keep them warm and prevent them from freezing, as well as reducing the amount of heat lost though the pipes.
Bleed the radiators
One way to keep your park home warmer is to make sure that your radiators are fully bled. Radiators that are colder at the top, than the bottom, could have air trapped inside, which will stop the heat for correctly circulating. Bleeding your radiators to release the air that has built up at the top of the radiator will help the heat to circulate correctly, increasing its efficiency.
Trim your trees
Keeping the trees trimmed back away from your park home, will reduce the amount of leaves falling into your guttering. This will also help to reduce branches from blowing against your park home and causing any damage.
Check the guttering and drains
The ever changing weather can cause debris to build up in your gutters and drains which could lead to problems inside and outside your park home. Leaves falling from the trees could fill up your gutters blocking them, which means water will not be able to flow properly. Your gutters could start to leak from the roof and run down the walls of your park home, which could lead to water damage. Regularly cleaning out your gutters and removing any built up debris, will help prevent problems in the future.
Check vents and skirting
Keeping vents clear and unobstructed will allow the air flow freely in and around your park home. This in turn will help prevent a build up of condensation, which could lead to damp and mould problems. You should also check the skirting around your park home, just to make sure it is secured tightly to exclude draughts.
Your Park Home Insurance
Your park home insurance policy is designed to protect you and your home against the risk of things suddenly happening which you could not have prevented. It is not designed to protect you against losses that arise due to poor maintenance or gradual deterioration of your park home.
Therefore, it is extremely important that you fully read your park home insurance policy along with the schedule, to ensure you are fully aware of the extent of your cover as well as the terms and conditions which are applied to your cover.
Escape of water
The cover you are provided for escape of water is designed to provide cover for damage to your park home caused by water leaks. One of the largest risks of water occurs when you are away during the winter months, when water pipes can freeze and burst, causing significant damage to your park home. It is important that you ensure you’ve taken steps to avoid this by keeping your central heating on low to ensure that your pipes do not freeze. If you decide to turn your central heating off whilst you are away, then you should drain all the water from your central heating system and all the water pipes to sinks, baths and showers, switching the water off at the mains also.
Many claims also occur due to water leaks caused by penetrating the seals around your bath or shower when the seals have worn away or split, where tiles have cracked or grouting has come free, or connections to washing machines, sinks or dishwashers become loose or dislodged. It is recommended that you take some time to periodically check in cupboards and under radiators to see if the pipes or radiators are weeping, as this may well be the start of more water escaping shortly.
Draining Down Your Water System
If you plan to leave your park home empty for an extended period of the winter, and it is not possible to leave the heating on during this time, then you are required to drain down the entire system as a precaution to prevent freezing and any potential damage this may occur. If your park home has a sealed heating system containing antifreeze then this does not need to be drained down but antifreeze levels should be checked annually and particularly prior to the winter months.
The hot and cold water system of a combi boiler should be drained as follows:
- Turn off and/or extinguish your water heater/boiler
- Turn off the mains water supply at the entrance to your park home
- Run all the taps in the property and flush all toilets too until water stops coming out
- If you have a hot water cylinder, empty it by opening the drain-cock at its base-attach a hosepipe to the drain-cock and run the water into a drain or bucket.
- Empty the rising main, and any low pipework if applicable, by opening their drain-cocks
- Put salt into the toilet pans to prevent water in the trap from freezing
Winter can be a wonderful time of the year, so making sure you and your property are fully prepared for the winter, means you can fully enjoy it. Taking these steps could help to avoid the stress and hassle of having to make an insurance claim. It is also worthwhile saving your insurance provider’s contact details on your phone in case of an emergency.
Wrap up well and stay safe and warm this winter.