Its that time of year again, the big freeze is approaching, as if we haven’t had enough. The houses go empty as we’re all visiting family. The pipes freeze over, water tanks crack and explode, thieves take advance of us being on vacation and so on.

So what can we do about this. There’s quite a large number of things we can do and organise whilst the temperatures are dropping and we prepare to leave the house empty over the Christmas season.

Firstly tell your trusted neighbours you’ll be going away, perhaps a good idea to ask them to pop in from time to time, make sure all is well.

Put some of your lights on time systems. This way they will turn on in your property at the right times of day to show all and sundry that your house is lived in and people are home. Make sure along with this your curtains are in suitable positions, so as not to give it away and show people you are really on vacation.

Leave the heating system on. Make sure that you have the heating on enough to stop your pipes from cracking and causing water damage to your property whilst your away. Doing this can save the heart ache of coming back to a flooded house, which really is not a great end of a vacation.

Leaving some essentials in the freezer ready to pull out. By this I mean a loaf of bread, pint of milk, butter in the fridge etc. Nice to know that when your back you have some foods to keep you going until you make it out to the shops. Alternatively you can ask the trusted neighbour to pop in and drop off some foods the day before your back. Its good for them as when they go on vacation they will know their property is in safe hands with you!

If you have a pet of any description, make sure you make suitable arrangements for it to be looked after.

most of all, get and keep organised in plenty of time and have yourselves a wonderful Christmas.

Daniel Zane, London