How to protect your home in summer

From weatherproofing to home security, AXA reveals how to protect your property in the summer months.

Home safety

21 July 2023

British summers can be unpredictable, from sunshine to showers you never quite know what to expect!

Here, AXA shares some tips on how to protect your property in summer, so you can rest easier whatever the season throws at you. From security tips, to garden hacks – we’ve got you covered.

In this guide:

Preparing your home for summer

It’s one of Britain’s unwritten rules: whenever there’s a glimmer of summer sunshine, you head outdoors to soak up every single second. But before stepping outside to top up your tan, it’s a good idea to ensure your property is in shipshape condition after surviving winter and spring. Here’s how to ensure your home is prepared for the summer months ahead.

Install a programmable thermostat

Programmable thermostats can help you be more energy efficient when it comes to managing your home’s heating. Investing in one can give you more control by allowing you to schedule your heating programme around your daily routine. Fancy keeping the heating off during hot sunny days but having it kick in when it cools down at night? Then investing in a programmable thermostat could be for you.

Keep an eye out for signs of subsidence

Subsidence is when the ground supporting your home begins to slide, sink or collapse, taking some of your building’s foundations with it. It mainly tends to affect homes in southern Britain but it’s a good idea to stay vigilant for tell-tale signs when the weather heats up, including diagonal cracks appearing around windows and doors, and wallpaper crinkling at wall and ceiling joints. If you suspect that your home is affected by subsidence, get in touch with a surveyor as soon as you can to arrange an inspection.

Ensure your attic is properly insulated

Insulating your attic doesn’t just keep your home warmer in winter, it can keep your house cooler in summer too. A properly insulated loft reduces the transfer of heat from your roof into your attic space and down into your home, which can work wonders against the summer heat. Why not get in touch with a professional to check if your attic is properly insulated? It could save you a packet by making your property more energy efficient.

Keep your roof in rude health

The chilly weather of winter and spring can wreak havoc on your roof, so to prevent damage from worsening in the summer months, it’s a good idea to check for signs of wear and tear. Start in your attic by looking for signs of sagging, water rings, dark patches and sun shining through. If you suspect your roof’s exterior is damaged, enlist the help of a professional to check for any missing tiles or shingles, your chimney is free from cracks and that the flashing around it is watertight.

Gut your gutters

Leaves and debris can build up in your gutters throughout winter and spring, which is why it’s a good idea to clear them of any blockages so that they drain as they should during rainstorms. Make sure that the water drains down and away from your property and get any areas of guttering that are cracked or rusted repaired as quickly as you can.

Illustration of a man applying sealant to window

Check seals on windows and doors

Worn-down seals on windows and doors can let warm air into your home, making your job of keeping things cool even harder. Sealing the air leaks, cracks and gaps around your windows and doors with weather-stripping can help minimise energy loss and water ingress, as well as preventing unwanted temperature changes.

Trim trees

When the sun is out, you’ll likely be spending more time in your garden, which is why it’s a good idea to keep things tidy. Consider getting a professional to remove dead branches from the trees in your garden to prevent them from breaking off during storms and causing damage to your own home or a neighbour’s.

Keep on top of minor repairs

Winter and spring can leave the outside of your home in a sorry state. Keep your home looking its best this summer by giving it some regular TLC, such as testing and cleaning outdoor light fittings, touching up paintwork and wiping down your windowsills and doors. Consider giving paths and patios a new lease of life with a deep clean and repair or replace broken paving stones to prevent nasty trips and slips.

Keeping your home safe in summer

When summer arrives, it’s easy to think that your biggest priorities become keeping your garden well-watered, staying clear of sunburn and keeping the barbecue well-fired. But it can be easy to let your guard down when you’re busy enjoying the fun the sun has to offer – something which opportunistic burglars can take advantage of. Keep the following tips in mind to make your home safe as houses this summer.

Always lock your windows

When the temperature rises it can be tempting to leave your windows open day and night to help cool your home down. But while this might seem like a harmless way to beat the heat, it can leave your home even more vulnerable to theft. Try not to leave accessible windows opened when you go to bed on warm nights and always make sure they’re locked if you decide to opt for a spot of sunbathing in your garden.

Illustration of a man cooking a barbecue

Be aware of barbecue safety

Summer may be barbecue season but before you throw another shrimp on your barbie, it’s important that you know how to operate them safely. According to the UK Fire Services Resources, you should keep these golden rules in mind to prevent your alfresco cooking plans from going up in smoke:

  • Never use petrol or paraffin to light your barbecue – use recognized lighters or starter fuels on cold coals instead
  • Use a flat site for your barbecue that’s up off the ground and a good distance away from sheds, fences, trees and garden
  • Never leave a barbecue unattended and keep children and pets away from the cooking area
  • Don’t drink alcohol if you’re the chief griller in charge of the barbecue
  • Keep a bucket of water, sand or garden hose nearby for emergencies
  • Only dispose of ashes from barbecues when they’re cold to the touch, as hot ashes can melt plastic wheelie bins and cause a fire

Securing your home for going away

Jetting off to sunnier climes for a well-deserved holiday this summer? Then keeping your home safe and secure while you spend time relaxing by the poolside is likely one of your top priorities. Here are some security measures to put in place before you head off for a week or two, so you can enjoy the fun and laughter of your summer holiday to the fullest.

Check all locks are working

It might sound like common sense but set aside some time to make sure that the windows and doors in your home have the right locks in place. If they look flimsy or faulty, get them replaced and make sure that exterior doors have a minimum of two reliable locks before you set off to the sun.

Ask your neighbours to keep watch

Everybody needs good neighbours, and when it comes to helping keep your home safe when you’re off on holiday, they can work wonders. Before you go, ask your neighbours to keep an eye on your home by putting out your bins for collection, picking up your post, feeding your pets, opening and closing your blinds and generally keeping an eye out for any suspicious activities. Just make sure you remember to bring your neighbours back a fridge magnet from your holidays as a thank you!

Illustration of a window and a light that's on

Make your home look lived in

Making it look like someone’s home when you’re away on holiday is another useful way of putting burglars off from breaking into your home. It’s a good rule of thumb to cancel deliveries so that piles of papers, parcels and milk don’t stack up and give away that nobody’s home. Why not consider investing in some timer switches for your lights and TV? That way they’ll turn on intermittently throughout the day and give the impression that someone is home – even when you’re miles away.

Be social media savvy

We get it. When you’re caught up in the excitement of your holiday it can be all too easy to take to social media to show everyone just how great a time you’re having. But it’s wise not to broadcast your holiday plans all over your social media channels as clued-up thieves may be keeping a look out online working out what homes to target. It might be difficult leaving your followers in the dark for a week or two, but the best rule of thumb is to postpone posting those #candid Insta holiday snaps until you’re back on home soil.

Know who to contact in emergencies

Just like you make a checklist to make sure you’ve packed all those holiday must-haves, consider creating a list of all the emergency contacts you’d need if anything were to go wrong in your home. Not only is it a good idea to take a copy of this all-important list with you, it could be wise to leave a copy with one of your neighbours for added peace of mind.

Illustration of the sun with some cloud

We all want to make the most of the sun but it’s important that we take the necessary steps to ensure our homes stay safe and secure. From sticking to safety guidelines when grilling on the barbecue, to asking a neighbour to keep a lookout for your home when you’re off on holiday, there are plenty of simple steps you can take to protect your home so you can focus more of your attention on soaking up all the fun the Great British summer has to offer.

Stay protected with AXA – whatever the weather

Whether it’s scorching blue skies or raining cats and dogs, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of your insurance policy. Find out more about home insurance from AXA and make sure you have the right cover you need to stay protected whatever the weather.