News Release

May 2018

Get your home and car ready for winter hazards

Summer has officially left the building and autumn is letting us know that the cold and potentially icy temperatures are a matter of weeks away. It’s the perfect time of year to examine your home and car and ensure that vital maintenance and repairs are done to ensure safety at home and on the road.

Mandy Barrett of insurance brokerage and risk advisors, Aon South Africa recommends that you take advantage of the time you have now to prepare for the ensuing cold and any unexpected emergencies this winter. With the checks and balances done, you can rest easy knowing that if things do go wrong, your insurance will take care of it.

Clean up Your Garden

  • Cover garden furniture and ensure garden hoses are stored in a frost-free area to ensure they don’t freeze-up and crack in cold temperatures.
  • Remove falling leaves from gutters and clear away dry debris as clogged gutters may create maintenance issues on your building.
  • Take the time to trim any dead branches off trees, such as palm trees, and shrubs as it poses a fire risk, especially if the plant is close to your home. Your garden may need extra trimming if you live in the drought-stricken Cape region as well as other regions that are heading into a dry winter.
  • Make sure that the water pump on your water collection tank or borehole is in good working order and has ‘run-dry’ protection on it so it will automatically shut off if it detects that there is no water to pump – this could happen if the water freezes in the pipes or the tank runs dry.

Fill the Gaps

  • Fill any cracks you may have in your walls, especially exterior walls. Water coupled with freezing temperatures can worsen existing cracks during winter months.
  • Check all doors and windows to make sure they seal properly and replace any gaps with door and window foam seal tape – keeping out the cold air will save significantly on heating costs.
  • Check and replace any broken roof tiles and ensure that flashings are in order – especially important for areas that experience rainy winter months.

Geyser

  • Cold winter temperatures and burst geysers and pipes go together like salt and pepper. Insulation is always a good idea for your geyser and water pipes. Use a geyser blanket to insulate your geyser and lagging on the exposed water pipes in your roof – not only does this protect against a sharp drop in temperature which can cause a burst pipe or geyser, but it will also save you money in the long run as water will stay hotter for longer, saving on electricity costs.
  • Service your geyser and check that all the seals, valves, stop-cock, thermostat and element are in good working order. Make sure that your drip tray is correctly installed and placed – should you experience a burst geyser – the drip dray will help channel the escaping water to outside your roof, saving on ceiling damage – a stitch in time save nine.

Gas Stove, heaters and fireplaces

  • Exercise extra precaution when using these appliances in your home – gas and open flames represent a significant fire and health risk. Always use your gas appliances as specified by the manufacturer with the correct safety valves and mechanisms in place. Get a certified gas installer to do regular safety checks and service your equipment before the winter months.
  • If you love a cosy winter fire, make sure that flammable objects are kept well away from a fireplace and always use a fire screen to prevent any sparks from flying off and setting fire to carpets or curtains. Clear out chimneys and air vents to ensure ventilation is not impaired in any way.

Generators:

  • With the cold comes the possibility of power outages as demand on the electricity grid increases. Make sure your generator is professionally installed by a qualified electrician and get a COC for the installation. Also confirm that your generator has a transfer switch to ensure that you can safely switch between electricity from the grid and from the generator when required.
  • Make sure that your generator is installed in a well-ventilated location as it emits deadly toxic gases and should never be utilised indoors.
  • If you are storing back-up fuel for your generator, make sure you are using appropriate containers that are clearly marked, well out of reach of children and stored in a sensible location.

Car

  • Check your battery and ensure it is in good working order, top up battery water levels.
  • Replace worn windscreen wipers and ensure that your tyres are in good condition with sufficient tread – this is especially important for areas that experience winter rainfall and ice on road surfaces.
  • Repair any cracks in your windscreen – the cold temperatures and frost can cause a small chip to run and crack the entire windscreen.
  • If your car is parked outside at night, get a cover to protect it from frost and freezing temperatures. If your windscreen is frosted up, never pour hot water over it as the sudden temperature change can cause it to crack.

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Tom Hatcher 7 Jun 2014 14:58 Comments Policy
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Sandy Smith 25 May 2014 11:44 Comments Policy
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John Smith 12 May 2014 17:09 Comments Policy
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