Top ten ways to prepare your home for winter
The days are getting shorter and colder, which means Jack Frost is at your door and he’s looking to freeze your pipes and give you the flu as an early Christmas gift. Fortunately, here are some tips that’ll keep you warm and protect your home from the jaws of winter.
1 – Sort out your home insurance
Check to make sure that your home insurance policy is up to scratch and that you’re covered for winter-related damage. If it comes to sorting out water damage to your Christmas presents or fixing a leaky roof, you’ll be glad you had the right cover in place.
2 – Keep your pipes toasty
Burst pipes are common during winter due to rapid freezing and thawing, potentially causing massive damage. The best way to stop this from happening is to keep your pipes warm with their own foam cardigan (called lagging), which will reduce the heat lost and insulate the pipes to stop them from freezing.
3 – Get your boilers looked at
A poorly maintained boiler wastes more energy and costs more, and it also runs the risk of leaking carbon monoxide. Either get your boiler serviced before winter or change your old model for a condensing unit, which could shave off around £235 a year (according to the Energy Saving Trust).
4 – Insulation – more than just a woolly jumper
About a quarter of the heat in your house is lost through the roof, so having good loft and wall cavity insulation could keep the house warm with less energy used. These improvements needn’t cost the earth, as there are a number of government grants and schemes that subsidise insulation installation.
5 – Bleed the radiators
If your radiators are colder at the top than they are at the bottom, then your radiators have trapped air inside them that’s stopping the heat from circulating properly. It’s time to grab a towel and your special key and bleed that radiator! Bleeding the radiators releases the air, allowing the radiator to run more efficiently.
6 – Switch energy suppliers
If your bills are still high despite these improvements, give your energy supplier a call and see if you can be put onto a more appropriate energy tariff. If that’s not good enough you look for a supplier that’ll offer you a bigger discount. There’s no disruption in service; all that happens is that your money goes to a different company when you pay your bill.
7 – Guttering
As summer draws to a close, the leaves will start falling, and gutters and drainpipes will start to get filled with loose foliage. Once the blockage becomes too much, water will start to back up in the guttering and leak into the roof and down the walls of the house. Make sure your gutters are completely free from grime and dirt to minimise water blockage.
8 – Tree trimming
You know who’s to blame for your guttering getting clogged up with leaves? It’s those trees, making a mess of your house and getting away with it. Take a stand against them and get them trimmed away from the house. This will reduce the amount of foliage that will drop into the guttering, and will also reduce the build-up of snow on the tree that could cause damage from broken branches.
9 – No entry for draughts
Those chilly winter breezes are wily things, and they’ll try everything they can to slip through the nooks and crannies of your home. Check the edges of your doors and windows for draughts, and you can either seal these gaps with self-adhesive draught strips, or get one of those funny draught excluders shaped like a snake or a dog.
10 – Bonus tip
Stock up on hot chocolate. It doesn’t matter if it’s pouring down with freezing cold rain, in the middle of a blizzard or gale force winds, sitting down on the sofa with a mug of hot chocolate in winter is one of the best feelings ever.
Jamie Gibbs is the resident blogger for Confused.com home insurance. His winter preparations include a Santa hat with a flashing light, a new pair of Simpsons slippers and a YouTube playlist of the cheesiest Christmas songs of the 80s.