With many parts of the country currently dealing with the impact of severe flooding, many of us have been handed a stark reminder of the threat of winter weather conditions to our daily lives.
Looking ahead Virgin Money have come up with five top tips to ensure that youre not caught out cold this season, preparing your home, family and pets for whatever the season may bring.
1. Prepare your home
Maintenance ensures any minor problems are spotted early and nipped in the bud before they develop into expensive major ones. So before the temperature drops, get your boiler and other appliances serviced by a qualified engineer from the Gas Safe-register.
Your central heating should never be switched off, but remain on low to prevent burst pipes. The extra few pounds in energy are more than worth it in preventing water damage.
2. Prepare the garden
Dont forget to check and clear outside areas like drains and guttering. Autumn leaves can block these, creating overflows and damp. Check roof tiles arent loose in case of leaks or high winds. And turn off and lag outside taps with plastic foam which can be picked up cheaply from DIY shops.
Weatherproof fences and decking to lengthen their lives. Gardens should also be checked for furniture and ornaments that need to be secured or put away for the winter.
3. Prepare your car
Check your car thoroughly before cold weather sets in, and regularly throughout the winter, especially if you travel a lot. Ensure water, anti-freeze, coolant, washer fluid and oil levels are topped up as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Check your wiper blades and ensure your heater and windscreen defrost fans are working.
4. Prepare your animals
Stock up on food and bedding for your pets ahead of any cold snap when slippy roads and pavements make it harder to get out. You may be able to get some items delivered with your groceries, but plan ahead for anything else.
5. Prepare yourself
The winter can seem to draw in very quickly. It can make some of us reach for the thermostat, while others head straight to the shops for tonnes of warm new clothes. Before you do either stop!
Take some time to assess the contents of your wardrobe. You may have cosy blankets and warm woollens you had forgotten about. Rarely worn items like gloves, hats and scarves are often stuffed in the back of drawers and cupboards. And remember that a few thin layers worn together are more effective at keeping you warm than one thick layer of clothes.
To find out more practical tips, head over to My Virgin Money Magazine.