Preparing your home for winter will not only ensure that you stay nice and cozy but will keep your house running more efficiently, too – and could even prevent disaster. Use the guide below to make sure you’ve got everything in place to enjoy a warm winter.
Bleed the Radiators
Air can become trapped in radiators and their connecting pipework, which can result in heating inefficiencies- and a bigger fuel bill. So start your prep work by bleeding your radiators to release this air and get them in tip-top condition. Be aware that water can spray during this process, so lay towels both on the floor underneath the radiator and wedge more between the radiator and wall, just to be on the safe side. Once your radiators have been bled, your boiler may need re-pressurizing, so you may wish to seek professional assistance with this.
Check Your Windows
It’s important to check your windows carefully, looking for draughts or damage to the casings, and inspecting the double-glazing for condensation building up between the two panes of glass, as this indicates that it is not functioning properly.
Windows letting in draughts, or that show signs of the double glazing being faulty, should be replaced to prevent your home from losing heat. Have a look at this useful source to get an idea of the cost of replacement windows and door glass; affordable options are widely available, and many companies, such as this one, are able to offer their customers finance options and initial remote consultations.
Check the Oil Tank
If your home uses oil as fuel, then regularly checking the oil tank is vital. Before winter is a good time to do this: what you’re looking for is any evidence of oil escaping and seeping into the ground; this can cause significant environmental damage as well as being an expensive problem to resolve, especially if it has gone unnoticed for any period.
Clear Gutters and Drains
Before the risk of ice makes this a dangerous (and unpleasant) job, it’s a good idea to check your house’s gutters and clear away any debris that may be clogging them – or get a professional to do it. Blocked gutters can cause rain to collect and eventually seep into and through the walls of your house. If you choose to employ someone to undertake this task, you could also ask them to check the roof at the same time to make sure there are no loose tiles or slates that need replacing.
Check drains, too: the ones inside the boundary of your property are your responsibility. Prevention is better than cure when it comes to blocked drains, but if the horse has already bolted, then opt for environmentally-friendly options to help get them unblocked, such as enzyme cleaning sticks. If these fail, you may want to seek professional advice.
Look After Your Pipes
A cold snap can cause pipes and taps to freeze – and sometimes burst as a result – and so take early measures to prevent this by fixing any dripping taps (especially those located outside) before winter comes. Insulating water tanks and pipework will provide further protection, as will leaving the heating on minimum when you leave the house.
Service the Heating System
This is another prevention-is-better-than-cure tip: the sudden pressure that can occur in a system when colder weather strikes and we suddenly put our heating on full-throttle can cause problems, frequently in older heating systems.
It’s advisable, therefore, to call in a heating engineer in good time to service your heating system so that, when the temperature outside drops and you dial up the thermostat, you can be confident that it’ll work.
Book a Chimney Sweep
If you have an open fire or a log-burning stove, then getting the chimney swept before the cold season comes is vital so that your flue is in a safe condition to use when you need to. A chimney sweep will be able to remove any blockages in the chimney, such as birds’ nests, and remove soot buildup. Keeping up with regular maintenance helps to prevent the risk of a dangerous chimney fire.
Know What to Do In a Power Cut
Make sure that you have a plan in the event of a power cut and that all of your household is aware of what to do in this eventuality. The electricity Distribution Network Operator in your area should be contacted, who will be able to give you advice about what has happened and when you can expect your power to be restored. If you have medical equipment reliant on electricity, let the Operator know this, as you may be put on a Priority Register for assistance.
Prepare for a power cut by having multiple torches around the house, as well as keeping a stock of spare batteries. Make sure you keep your mobile phone charged for use in an emergency. Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed, and place a towel or blanket over the appliance. Switch off all appliances: an iron, for example, poses a hazard if it comes back on again once power is restored and you’re not in the room.
Finally, be sure to look out for elderly or vulnerable people living nearby, and assist them if you can.
Make Sure You’re Insured
Having adequate home and contents insurance is important to ensure that, if the worst happens, you have cover and needn’t face a big bill. When you’re choosing insurance, check all your options carefully, and it is crucial to read the fine print so that you can be confident that the cover you purchase will be valid if you need to call upon it.