Avoid a home nightmare before Christmas

It’s been a long, tough year for many of us, so we’re all looking forward to a few well-earned days of rest and relaxation, however you choose to spend it.

But for one man, work is just getting started, and he’s scheduled to make a call to your home in the early hours of December 25th.

The least we can do to make his life easier is to make sure our home is Santa safe, so we’re asking people to think of three key things to make your home a welcoming place for Father Christmas:

Roof - Chimney - Lights

As well as making your home safe for the big man in red, it will also help keep the people in your home safe and cosy throughout the year - a Christmas gift that will keep on giving.

night-roof

Roof

When your home was built, it’s unlikely that the tradespeople took into account the weight of a sleigh and eight reindeer when they finished off the roof - but each Christmas, we need it to act as an impromptu runway, which is a lot to put up with.

In fact, our roof can be vulnerable all year round, not just to careless hooves, but more likely to bad weather, especially high winds.

Slipped tiles and loose flashing can all be caused by stormy weather, leading to water getting into the roof space where it can damage the woodwork of your roof, your insulation, wiring, and even start to penetrate down into your home.

Checking for issues can be as simple as going into the loft space to check for any signs of light coming through the tiles, but for full peace of mind, a roofer can make an inspection and see if there are any problems. They can also check if there are any more persistent issues with the roof, such as bowing in the roofline.

chimney-snow

Chimney

Having a real fuel-burning stove in your home can be a lovely, comforting focal point for a room, meaning even the coldest winter night can be cosy and festive.

It’s also the way that Santa gets into your home - however much he might have to squeeze to do it.

But as with many aspects of your home, it’s vital that you look after your stove and chimney to make sure they’re working safely.

It’s easy for debris to fall down the chimney stack and build up inside the flue, where it can cause a fire hazard, so it’s recommended that you have your chimney professionally cleaned once or twice a year, ideally before you begin using it in earnest.

Stoves that don’t burn efficiently, usually due to blockages, can also release carbon monoxide, so installing a carbon monoxide alarm as well as a fire alarm is essential for keeping your home safe.

A chimney and fireplace expert can help sort out your stove and make sure it’s working as it should - all you have to do is hang up the stockings and leave out the mince pies.

christmas-tree-lights

Lights

Santa has a lot of powers - how else can he travel around the whole world in one night? - but night-vision probably isn’t one of them. Like us, he’s probably a fan of festive lights, whether they’re all over the outside of your home or just around your Christmas tree.

However, we should all be wary of going too overboard with the lights. Electrical faults are one of the main causes of fires in homes, and no one wants to see their presents, or anything else, going up in flames at this time of year.

If you’re decking the halls with reams of twinkling lights, make sure you buy good quality lights that adhere to British standards, and make sure the wiring is in good condition with no exposed or frayed sections.

Be wary of overloading any sockets with too many extension leads, and always turn them off and unplug them before leaving the house or going to bed.

Electrical standards in our homes are always improving - for example since 2008, all consumer units (sometimes called fuse boxes) are required to be housed in metal rather than plastic and use Residual Circuit Devices (RCDs).

If the wiring in your home is old and you’re concerned, contact an electrician to make sure your home is safe and up to date.

stockings-chimney

And some stocking fillers....

Trips and falls are common accidents in homes, and Santa carrying his bulging sack is particularly vulnerable.

Ensure your carpets and doorbars are all properly fitted so you can roll out the red carpet with full peace of mind.

After an evening spent in the biting cold - the windchill factor must be horrendous flying at 30,000 ft - Santa will no doubt look forward to a bit of warmth when he’s inside delivering the goods.

Make sure you can give a warm welcome by ensuring your boiler is good to go this winter - you should have it inspected every year to make sure it’s in full working order and spot any problems before they arise.

Santa is the only person you ever want sneaking into your home, especially if your home happens to be full of brand new gadgets like phones and games consoles.

It’s important to be aware of home security around Christmas, and you can keep your home protected with a security system, whether that be an integrated alarm or CCTV.

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