November 30, 2012 04:00 ET

HomeServe's Top Five Tips for Staying Safe Outdoors This Winter

WALSALL, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Nov. 30, 2012) - As the temperature continues to drop, HomeServe have put together some useful tips for staying safe when you're out and about this winter. Check out our outdoor winter tips, which include ideas for keeping your garden tidy and staying safe on the road.

  1. How to stop your pond freezing over
If you have a pond, a good tip for the winter months is to put a tennis ball in the pond before it freezes. Once the water's frozen, simply remove the tennis ball to allow oxygen into the water.
  1. How to keep weeds away
Keep your garden weed-free during winter by putting newspapers down between the plants in your flower beds. The newspaper will not only keep the weeds at bay but will add extra nutrients to the soil, helping to keep your plants healthy.
  1. How to keep your bins safe from animals
If you constantly find that your bin bags have been torn open by neighbourhood animals like cats, foxes and seagulls, here's an easy way to keep these foraging animals at bay. Most of these creatures hate the smell of ammonia, so look through your cleaning supplies to find something that contains it (such as window cleaner or floor cleaner) and spray a few squirts over the bags to ward them off.
  1. Preparing your car for ice and snow
Make sure you've got everything you'll need to clear your car of ice and snow, including an ice scraper, can of de-icer and a bottle of windscreen washer fluid. If you do a lot of long distance driving during the winter months, try creating a winter travel kit including the following items:
  • Warm coat, hat and gloves
  • Torch
  • Fully charged mobile phone (and in-car mobile phone charger, if you have one)
  • Bottled water
  • Flask full of hot drink
  • Wellington boots
  • A shovel to clear snow
  • Blanket
  • Dried food (such as chocolate or energy bars)
  • Lock de-icer
  1. What to do if you're snowed in
The best way to deal with cold weather is to prepare for the worst. Make sure you have a shovel to hand and stock up on salt or sand to clear icy paths and driveways. Dishwasher salt and cat litter will also have the same effect. If heavy snow is forecast, try positioning raised stakes along the edge of your driveway so you can see where it ends - this will avoid digging up the garden when clearing snow by shovel.

About HomeServe

Every 1 minute a HomeServe engineer comes to the rescue of a British household. HomeServe is a national emergency home repair service backed by a 24 hour claims handling and repair network.

HomeServe tradesmen are guaranteed to turn up on time, to hold the necessary qualifications to do the job at hand, to provide a price before they start the job and will even guarantee their work for a 12 month period afterwards.

HomeServe also offers boiler cover insurance, plumbing, drains, electrical wiring and gas central heating insurance. It has over 6 million policy members in the UK and a further 4 million in the USA and France.

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HomeServe try to make the home advice as useful and reliable as possible. However, the purpose of HomeServe help and advice content is to provide homeowners and private landlords with general guidance and useful tips only. It doesn't necessarily deal with every important topic or cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals and might not be relevant or appropriate in all circumstances. It is not designed to provide professional advice or financial advice and should not be relied on as such. The full disclaimer regarding HomeServe help and advice can be found on the website at the following page:

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