How To Winter-Proof Your House Or Flat
With temperatures dropping across the country, snow approaching and Christmas just around the corner, it’s the ideal time to start winter-proofing your property. Whether it’s your own home or a rental property, it’s essential that your house or flat is warm and cosy as the colder weather hits. An energy-efficient home will not just keep you warm, but save you money, and eventually see you fetch a higher return if you wish to sell it. It’s a win-win!
- Clear your gutters
Ensuring that your pipes aren’t blocked with leaves means water will flow freely through your pipes and you are less likely to be affected by dampness and leaks.
- Loft insulation
Your house will stay warm during the winter and cool during the summer with loft insulation, adding value to your property, making it more energy efficient and reducing noise pollution from outside.
- Avoid frozen pipes
Lagging your pipes (wrapping your pipes to stop them freezing, to avoid blockages and prevent them from bursting) is easy and effective. You can buy lagging online or from DIY stores. Areas to focus on include the garage and any area where pipes run outside. If the pipes are already frozen, using a hairdryer is a handy tip to unfreeze them.
- Keep your radiators on
Keeping your radiator on for just an hour in the day and evening, either manually or on a timer, will prevent your pipes from freezing. You should also check if your radiators need bleeding. If they are cold at the top and warm at the bottom, this is a clear sign.
- Service your boiler
Annual servicing of your boiler will reduce your fuel bills. Checking your boiler pressure is also a good habit to get into each winter. It should be at about one bar. If it is too low, this is a good time to get an engineer to take a look.
- Be prepared for emergencies
Knowing where your stop cock is will save your home, in the rare instance that a pipe bursts and your home begins to flood. The stop cock will shut down your water supply.
- Upgrade your windows
Installing double or triple glazing will significantly improve the temperature of your house and reduce your heating bills. Be sure to also close doors throughout your home, to reduce draughts flowing through.
- Get rid of any cracks or leaks
Take the time to inspect your home and check if there could be water or cold winds creeping in through any areas. Corners and chimneys are often culprits here. An easy way to check for cracks and leaks is by moving a lit incense stick along the walls (avoiding anything flammable, of course!) and seeing if smoke moves into any cracks where cold air can come in and warm air can leave. Seal the cracks with a sealant.
- Check the roof
If you have any cracked or missing tiles on your roof, rain could seep through, causing damp and rot. You may want to enlist the assistance of a professional to check for you, as a DIY route can be dangerous.
- Sweep the chimney
To avoid chimney fires, which are very common this time of year, employ a professional to sweep your chimney before lighting your first fire. If you’ve got a chimney but don’t light the fire, consider using a chimney balloon to prevent hot air escaping upwards and cold draughts sweeping down.
- Repair windows and doors
Doors and windows in a poor state of repair can let in cold air and rain water. Check the outside woodwork for rot and damage and fix any minor issues now, before they become bigger and more expensive to repair.
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Content correct at time of publication.