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Duffy Property Services & Property Management Dundalk Louth

Are You Winter Ready?

Home safety advice - Be Winter Ready

Our main message is simple:
Be Prepared, Stay Safe and know where to find help should you need it.

Clearing the snow
Clearing snow can be demanding work - only undertake the task if you are reasonably fit and do not have an underlying medical condition:

  • clear snow or ice early in the day if possible
  • wear sturdy, insulated, waterproof footwear with good gripping soles
  • use a shovel - there are special shovels for this task but any garden shovel will do
  • make a path down the middle of the area being cleared so that you will have a clear surface to walk on
Never use boiling water to clear snow as it may re-freeze and cause the formation of black ice. You can prevent ice forming by spreading salt on the area that you have cleared. When you are clearing snow it is important that you don't create an obstacle for pedestrians or traffic. Ensure that the snow is removed to a location that won't create a hazard

Legal advice for snow clearance and gritting
The Office of the Attorney General has advised that liability does not arise when snow is cleared from footpaths in a safe manner.

In relation to people gritting roads with grit supplied by the local authorities, the legal advice is that the issue of liability does not arise where the material is delivered, stored and used in a safe manner and does not cause hazard.

For advice on flooding, please read our information here

Water shortages and leaks
Information on your Local Authority's arrangements for dealing with water shortages can be found though your Local Authority's website.
Be prepared - precautions against freezing temperatures
Mains water supply to premises, i.e. external stopcock - the depth from ground-level to the stopcock should not be less than 600mm. If required, seek professional advice on having the stopcock lowered or protected. The same applies to the line from the stopcock to your property. Be aware that the level may vary as it nears your property.

To prevent stopcocks freezing, open the stopcock chamber and remove any water. Fill the chamber with non-absorbent material to provide insulation. Do not use absorbent material as it too will freeze when wet. Do not leave taps running as this merely wastes a valuable resource.

Water supply
If you are leaving your property unattended for a period of more than a day or two, you should shut off the water supply to the property from the external stopcock (while ensuring that any water-dependent appliances or facilities are also shut-off).

If you have a meter installed by Irish Water, a frost plug has been inserted in the meter boundary box to prevent the meter and stop-cock from freezing. If no meter is installed by Irish Water, to prevent stopcocks freezing, open the stopcock chamber and remove any water. Fill the chamber with non-absorbent material to provide insulation. Do not use absorbent material as it too will freeze when wet.

Be prepared - avoid frozen pipes
Ensure all exposed pipes are adequately insulated. This includes pipes in the attic where the attic floor has been well insulated. Other steps include:

  • insulate or wrap a towel around an outside tap
  • leave a light on in the attic
  • open attic trap door to allow heat in
  • leave heating on for longer periods at lower settings
Warmth offers the best protection against frozen pipes so keep your house warm.

Frozen mains water supply
If your supply is frozen, be cautious with use of heating systems, washing machines or other water-dependent appliances or facilities. If in doubt, contact a qualified plumber for advice.

Water leaks
Water supply in vacant premises and holiday homes should be shut off and drained down in preparation for winter. Keyholders should check premises regularly for possible leaks.

If a leak is detected:
  • turn off water supply - stop valve is usually under the kitchen sink
  • turn on cold taps to drain the system
  • turn off central heating
  • turn off electricity supply if leak is near electrical appliances
  • call a qualified plumber
Store the essentials
Have a small supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare foods. Keep extra supplies of essential medication in case it is difficult to get to the pharmacy.

Have an adequate supply of fuel for heating/cooking and if possible a suitable alternative should the main supply fail. Have a shovel and bag of salt to keep paths clear and safe. You should also have batteries for torches in the event of power cuts.

Have candles and matches
Candles should always be placed away from draughts in proper candleholders. Never leave a burning candle unattended. These tips are also important:
  • have a water container to ensure a supply of drinking water
  • have emergency contact numbers to hand
  • leave a key and contact details with neighbours or family if you are going away
Remember to insulate
Check that loft insulation is thick and in good condition. Fit your water tank with an insulation jacket or alternatively, wrap the top and sides with suitable insulation material. Other useful steps include:

  • repair any leaks at taps or valves
  • know how to turn off the water supply (usually under the kitchen sink)
  • fit draught excluders to your doors and windows
  • make sure heating equipment is well-maintained, vented correctly and working properly
  • ensure chimneys are cleaned at least once a year

More information on being Winter Ready can be found on the gov.ie website.