Friday, 13 September 2019

Five Ways You Can Prepare Your Home For Winter

The summer is finally over, and we’re finally edging into autumn. It’s a beautiful time of year as the leaves fall from the trees and turn glorious shades of crimson and orange, but it’s also the time when you need to make sure that your home is fully prepared for the colder weather ahead. Here are some tips that will help you make sure that your house is fully winter-proofed.

Check Your Boiler
First, you need to get your boiler serviced. You should do this every year, but it’s particularly important to make sure that it’s running well before winter begins. Not only is it extortionately expensive to replace a boiler (this is what that rainy day fund is for), but it’s also incredibly uncomfortable to go through the winter without heating or hot water. If your boiler isn’t working properly during autumn, you can shudder and complain your way through a cold shower. If it’s off during the winter, you’ll feel as though your entire body has turned into an icicle. 

Clear Out Your Gutters And Drains
Before winter arrives, you need to make sure that your gutters and drains are clear. It’s a good idea to do this towards the end of the autumn, once most of the leaves have fallen from the trees. As gorgeous as they may be, they are one of the chief culprits when it comes to blocked guttering and drains. If your guttering gets overloaded, it can spill over, which causes leaks into the walls of your house. Leaks can cause a lot of damage to your home, both financially in terms of repairs that may need to be done, but also sentimentally: they can destroy beloved possessions like photo albums and memorabilia, so make sure your house is as leak-proof as possible. If you’re a little uncertain about climbing up a ladder, it’s definitely a good idea to hire a professional to clean up your gutters for you - and it’s a bit of a messy job so you may not want to get your hands dirty!

Improve Your Insulation
If your attic isn’t fully insulated, it’s time to change that. A huge amount of heat can escape through the roof of your house, just like a huge amount of body heat escapes from your head if you aren’t wearing a hat. The difference with your home is that you’re paying a lot to heat it, so insulating your roof will keep that heat in and lower your heating bills. It’s also a great idea to look into cavity wall insulation. Remember that if it’s pricey, the government sometimes subsidises the installation of insulation in homes, so make sure you ask. Remember that even if you think your loft is completely insulated, it may have got thinner and lost its effectiveness over the years, so get up there and check it. You can also add lagging to your pipes - you can buy it at any hardware store before taping it around your pipes to stop them freezing and bursting during the winter.

Damp Proof Your Basement
Anyone who has a basement will be fully aware that they are incredibly easy targets for damp and for mould, particularly over the winter when it’s cold and wet outside. Make sure that your cellar is fully damp proofed before the worst of the weather hits. Go to your local hardware shop to assemble the basic tools like a damp proof membrane and Proofex primer. Before you get started, check that damp hasn’t already started to make its way in - rising damp is particularly common and is caused by moisture oozing into your home through porous materials. You can tell if you’ve got it from wet marks on your wall and cold areas.

What About Your Roof?
Checking your roof is important as we move towards winter. During the summer it’s easy to let house repairs slip - it doesn’t rain much and it doesn’t feel particularly necessary. But if you’ve got lost or cracked slates and tiles on your roof during the winter, it can lead to a leak which, as mentioned above, can be devastating both financially and emotionally. Walk around your home and take a good look at the roof from below. If you see missing slates, talk to a local roofer who can advise what to do next. This isn’t a job that you should attempt unless you’ve got some experience in the area and a particularly good head for heights.

Hopefully these tips will help keep your household happy all winter long!

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