If you are feeling the chill now that winter is really here, perhaps it’s time to look at how to prepare your home for winter weather, with some quick and simple maintenance which will not only keep you toasty, but will also protect your home in the long run. Here is our guide to the best ways to protect your home against the extremes of winter weather and keep you warm as the temperatures drop.
Clean the gutters
Cleaning the gutters will help to ensure that rainwater or even melted snow is channeled away from your home. Guttering that is clogged with autumn leaves doesn’t take the water away from your property, which can lead to damp problems. Guttering which is left with standing water which can’t drain due to blockages can crack if the water freezes in a sudden cold snap, which also leads to problems further down the line.
Check your fascia boards
Protect the roof and upper part of your home from driving rain and snow by making sure your fascia boards are intact and correctly fitted so that they help to prevent moisture from entering the roof area. By preventing this moisture from entering the part of your home that is designed to keep the heat in, especially when your roof is properly insulated, you will not only save on energy bills, but you’ll also ensure you stay warmer in colder months.
Protect your pipes
If the weather takes a turn for the worst, your water pipes might also be affected. Unprotected water pipes can freeze and crack, leading to a loss of supply. If the frozen pipes crack when they eventually thaw out, the water might cause damage to your possessions or even your home. You can prevent frozen pipes by lagging them. Lagging is a cost-effective foam tubing which anyone can apply with no previous knowledge and very little DIY experience is required.
Locate your stop tap
The location of your stop tap is essential in case of water leaks or burst pipes at any time of the year but in winter you are more likely to need to use it. Check under the kitchen sink or stairs and make sure you know how to turn it off to prevent water damage in your home.
Check your boiler
A simple phone call to a good gas plumber could be the best thing you did as winter approaches – although they are busy at this time of the year so call as far in advance as possible and book them in. Winter is the time when your boiler is under the most strain. From water for baths and showers to keeping radiators piping hot, boilers are essential in winter. A winter service, and indeed, a regular annual service will pick up on problems before they happen, so if a part needs replacing to keep you cosy in winter, a gas plumber can help. It might prevent a boiler breakdown on a cold day when plumbers are run off their feet trying to help other households have a warm bath. Take out boiler insurance to help pay for the cost of a breakdown over the year; many come with an annual service included.
When air is trapped inside a radiator it takes longer to heat up, thus using more energy from the boiler. Bleed them regularly to let the air out and improve efficiency. Radiators should be hot at the top and the bottom, so if yours are only hot at the bottom, buy a radiator key from a DIY store and gently remove the excess air to help them work to their optimum output levels.
Add attic insulation
A quarter of the heat in a home is lost through its roof. If your home is losing heat when it doesn’t need to, your energy bills and the strain on your boiler will be higher. Save money by adding attic insulation between the joists on the floor of your attic or on the underside of the roof itself. DIY loft insulation can be done by you or you can call a professional if your attic isn’t easy to access.
Install a programmable thermostat
According to Energy Star, approximately 45% of a home’s energy is used for cooling and heating, and much of that heating and cooling will be used in rooms which don’t need it all of the time. By turning the heating down at the times of day when you don’t need it or when you are not using certain rooms, you can lower your energy bills. Programmable thermostats are said to save between 10 and 30% of a homeowner’s energy bills when used correctly. By installing a programmable thermostat you can control the temperature in your home, room by room, if needed, at key times of the day, so from turning the temperature down when you are tucked up in bed or when cooking, to turning it up on a cold winter’s morning as you get ready for work, you are always in control of how warm your home is and as a result, your energy bills.
If you follow the above your home should be warm and safe during the cold winter months.
Shirley Mist has been involved in fashion and design for many years. She has also written extensively for many online publications. She currently writes for The Tribune World and is a valued member of our team.