Winter-proofing your house can save you money on energy and repair bills and ensure you keep warm during the coldest months of the year – it’s also a great opportunity to give your home an annual MOT.
Adrian Flux’s top tips for preparing your house for winter:
- Even small measures can save you heat and money – fit draught excluders to your doors and windows to help keep the warmth in your home and the cash in your pocket.
- Find and fix problems before they are made worse by bad weather – you also need to check your buildings and contents insurance to make sure that you’re covered for every eventuality. Adrian Flux covers all kinds of homes and tailors each policy to individual homeowners.
- Check your roof for loose tiles and unblock your gutters, making sure that you clear the ends of your guttering where debris often collects. If you allow a gutter to block, it can lead to damp in your walls and a costly re-plastering job.
- Make sure that tree branches aren’t too close to your property where they could cause damage during high winds and, if you have any creeping plants, check the brickwork underneath them for cracks which could fill with frozen water and deepen during a cold spell.
- Water pipes are vulnerable in cold weather, so check that the lagging on your pipes and cisterns is in place in unheated areas, such as your loft space. Make sure you know where your stopcocks are so that you’re prepared if your house springs a leak.
- If you plan to leave your home for a few days when freezing temperatures are forecast, leave your central heating on a low setting to prevent the pipes freezing – leaving the loft open slightly will also allow warm air to reach the space and prevent frozen pipes.
- Put away garden furniture, even if it’s painted. Drain water out of garden hoses and store them in a warm place or the water will freeze, weaken the lining and cause holes to form.
- Invest in a doormat with a rough texture, which will help to remove mud and slush from shoes before anyone enters your home. This will prevent water and salt from damaging wood floors.
- Double-glazed windows are more energy-efficient in the winter, but if you need a quick fix, you can use specialised polyurethane film, which you fit inside your windowpanes and seal with a hair dryer. You could also invest in some insulating window treatments such as curtains with linings or wood blinds.
- Make sure your loft has at least 270mm of insulation to ensure your home is energy efficient. For more details, visit the Energy Saving Trust.
- Check your extractor fans in kitchens and bathrooms or consider having fans fitted to combat condensation build-up that happens when hot air meets cold walls. When condensation gathers, it can cause mould and encourage paint to flake.
- Have your chimneys swept if you have an open fire or woodburner: blocked chimneys are a fire hazard (and on this note, check your home’s smoke detectors. Change the batteries, replace any detectors that are more than 10 years old and occasionally test them with a little bit of actual smoke rather than just pressing the test button).
- A boiler breakdown in the depths of winter is miserable, so have your boiler serviced before the cold snap begins rather than forking out for an emergency plumber when the worst happens.
- If you’re planning to go way over the festive period leaving your home unoccupied for more than 30 days, check with your insurer that you have the right level of cover. Adrian Flux is one of the leading specialist home insurance brokers in the UK and can help. Call 0333 5555000 or 0800 3698590 free from a landline.