As temperatures across the UK plummet and winter draws ever closer, it’s time to start thinking about preparing your home for the colder weather ahead.
Being conscientious now and spending a bit of time on some fundamental jobs around your house will not only stand you in good stead when Jack Frost comes knocking at your door, but could also save you money in the long-run.
[Related reading: Winter Home Security Tips: Beat The Burglars This Festive Season]
Here are our top five tips to help you in preparing your home for winter:
1. Prevent frozen pipes
Water pipes that rapidly freeze and thaw risk bursting. If that happens, you’ll be left with a hefty bill and potentially no water while you’re getting them fixed.
As with most things, prevention is better cure when it comes to frozen pipes and that’s why you want to stop your pipes from freezing rather than try and fix them after they already have.
By simply allowing a tap that is supplied by an exposed exterior pipe to drip (even just a trickle), you will significantly reduce the chances of the pipe freezing. While this will add a little to your water bill, it’s still going to be cheaper than fixing burst pipes.
Alternatively, you could look at insulating your exposed exterior pipes with some pipe insulation. You can add foam sleeving to your pipes to protect them from the frost and reduce their chances of freezing – this is a relatively cheap and easy DIY fix.
2. Get your boiler serviced
A poorly maintained boiler is uneconomical, potentially dangerous and stands at higher risk of malfunctioning. That’s why you should look to get yours serviced ahead of the winter.
During a boiler service, the heating engineer will check each part of your boiler and central heating system for wear and tear. This not only identifies problem that are present at the time, but also helps to reduce the chances of future issues arising.
Just make sure you get your boiler serviced by a reputable Gas Safe registered heating engineer.
3. Bleed your radiators
With your boiler serviced your next port of call should be your radiators. A little time spent bleeding them now will ensure they are in fighting shape for when the really cold weather arrives and you need them most.
A classic sign that your radiators need bleeding is when they are noticeably colder at the top than they are at the bottom.
All you need to do is get your radiator key and undo the valve (usually located on the top of your radiator) until water starts to drip out. Do this for all the radiators in your home to ensure they are full of water and have no trapped air.
4. Check your roof insulation
Houses lose most of their heat through the roof, which is why good loft insulation is a must – especially when winter is here!
Get up in your loft and give your insulation a quick inspection. Mice can play havoc with your insulation if they decide to make a home in your loft, so look at for any obvious patches that need replacing or adding to.
Also, check that your loft hatch is properly insulated too. A lot of the time people undo all their good loft insulation work by having a hatch that lets warm air escape into the roof.
5. Clean your gutters
Gutters that are full of debris do not function as well as they should and there’s a strong chance yours need cleaning after the autumn leaves have fallen.
A blocked gutter can cause water to leak into your roof and run down your walls. Use a ladder to access your gutters and remove any debris by hand.
You can sometimes access high gutters from upstairs windows too. Just be sure to watch out for any sharp objects and stay safe the whole time.
[Related reading: 4 Home Improvement Projects to Tackle This Winter]