Not preparing correctly for the chilly winter months ahead can be a costly affair. Heating your home is one of the most expensive outlays you will face this winter, so making sure you are fully prepared before the big chill is recommended.
Use the following checklist to ready your home for winter:
- Making sure your boiler is serviced before it will be put through its paces over the winter months is a sensible first step. Pre-empting any problems and ensuring it is clean and problem free can save the expense and inconvenience of anything going wrong later on. Being left without hot water and central heating over the holiday season, and expensive call out fees should be avoided.
- Bleed all your radiators as they will not work properly if they contain air. Check to see if you can fit thermostats to existing radiators for more efficient use. Don’t cover your radiators with clothing etc and make sure furniture doesn’t prevent the heat from penetrating the room.
- Check windows and doors for draughts and apply fillers and insulation foam around any weak spots. Small measures can also be taken to keep in the heat. Use of lined curtains, letter box covers, door frame brushes or tape and draught excluders can make a big difference to the warmth of your home without breaking the bank.
- Check to see if your loft has insulation. Properly installed loft insulation can slash your energy bills and keep your home warm in winter, quickly offsetting the initial outlay.
- If you have an open fire or log burner make sure your chimney has been swept in line with advice from your chimney sweep, or the manufacturer’s recommendations. If you don’t already have one, take advice from your chimney sweep about whether to install a cap or bird guard to the chimney.
- Freeing guttering of leaves and debris is essential. Guttering helps channel rainwater away from your home and its foundations. Blocked or broken guttering can cause water damage, dampness and mould which can be expensive to put right.
- The roof can often be overlooked when preparing for the winter. Check over tiles and identify any areas that may need attention. The roof is your main protection for your house from the elements. If your roof is old it may need to be completely replaced. Ask an expert for a roof inspection.
- Burst pipes can be a major headache in the winter months. Check your house to see whether there are any exposed pipes and use foam lagging to protect them from extreme cold. Identify where your stop cocks are ahead of time. In the event of a leak, promptly turning off the water supply can prevent flooding.
- Clear all your pathways to the front and back of the house. Weeds or discarded items may present trip hazards when covered by snow or ice and it will be easier to make areas safe before the advent of snow. Keep a bag of grit or salt to hand, together with a spade or shovel, for use on paths after a heavy snowfall.
- Prepare an emergency pack and include candles, torches, fleece blanket, foodstuffs which don’t need to be heated and bottled water and drinks in case of a power cut.
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Feature image credit: Hiroyuki Takeda via Flickr.