Love it or hate it, winter is here, and it is here to stay. For some people, the longest season of the year means finally digging out the vast collection of jumpers they’ve missed wearing over summer, putting the Christmas tree up and spending every single solitary night in their winter-fied living room paradise.
However, there’s also the not-so-fun side to winter. Make sure you’re taking care of your home and paying close attention to the conditions during winter, as a lack of attention can lead to bigger bills and bigger chills…
Read on to find some handy tips and tricks that are all designed to save you some money and make your home the best it can be this winter.
Have you checked your home insurance?
You should do this first – it’s a very important responsibility that could quite easily be forgotten. By making sure that your insurance is up to date and covers winter damage, you’ll save yourself a lot of aggravation (and money) in the event that your home is subjected to weather-related damage.
While entirely preventing winter-related home damage is unfortunately impossible, there are quite a few steps you can take that will minimise the risks.
Check your doors and windows for gaps
With the British weather being what it is, it is important to weatherproof your doors and windows to prevent cracks and further damage. Start by checking for gaps in doors and windows, as leaving those parts of the home with such openings unaddressed is one of the easiest ways of inadvertently allowing draughts to enter.
If you are unfortunate (or fortunate) enough to spot a gap or a crack, make sure you seal it up with draught excluder tape, which is inexpensive and can be found either online or at your local DIY store.
Look outside to help yourself inside…
While you’re at the door, pop outside and check your gutters. If you have time, check the rooftops, too. Look for debris – and, if you see it, clear it.
It may sound pointless, but cleaning your roof and your drains to remove debris actually goes a long way when you’re trying to get your home in shape for winter survival. The sheer weight of debris in your drains could weigh them down and potentially break them, which would necessitate a hefty re-installation cost.
We cannot sufficiently stress the importance of insulation in the home, either. While it is an expense to start with, you can – according to moneysupermarket.com – save up to £250 on your energy bills, and the initial expense of installing insulation can be made up for in a mere few years.
Outside, it might be a good idea for you to thoroughly hose down any areas such as patios and decking as well as give them a scrub and general clean, as this can prevent slips, trips and general accidents if these areas become wet and fungal later on.
For further information on the best way to clean your patio for the winter, have a look here.
Put the kettle on… but turn it off afterwards!
Once you’re back inside, make sure you shut that door and don’t crank the heating up, despite any force of habit to the contrary. However, do have a look at your heating thermostat. Check on its particular setting and think about whether altering it could save you energy and money.
Perhaps it is on a continuous setting, but you could really benefit from switching it to a timed setting. It doesn’t make sense to have the house heated when no one is in it, right? We recommend setting the thermostat to heat the home up just before your usual time arriving there, as this will not only prevent energy wastage but also ensure that you can step into a pleasantly warm home.
Pop upstairs to your wardrobe (jogging will warm up you up even more) and throw on a cosy jumper. As it’s close to Christmas but you’re indoors, why not choose the most fabulously hideous Christmas jumper you can find – the kind that you wouldn’t usually dig out otherwise?
Before you head back downstairs and pop the kettle on, it would be wise to make sure that all of your electronic gadgets are fully switched off. Just leaving things such as laptops and televisions on standby may seem the handy thing to do, but not in the long run. It’s surprising just how much energy you can save simply by switching many of these devices off.
Obviously, don’t turn the kettle off until you’ve made your winter-warming beverage and plonked yourself down on the sofa, perhaps with a comforting throw. Most good shops around this time of year will sell inexpensive but good-quality throws for your sofa which will enable you to enjoy the heat without having to fork out for it.
Need to bleed?
Oh, and just before you sit on the sofa, it will also be worth thinking about your radiators (which hopefully aren’t blocked by said sofa or any other furniture, as this can affect overall heat circulation and distribution greatly). If your radiators are colder at the top than they are at the bottom, it could be that they are in need of a good bleed.
Grab a towel, grab that key you always mean to keep in a safe place, and bleed your radiators! Bleeding your radiators allows them to run more efficiently as they release any trapped air which may be stopping them from heating to their full potential. Here is an easy-to-follow guide on how to bleed your radiators properly.
A lofty investment…
Once you’ve had your winter warming beverage, it could be worth you looking up in your loft to check on your insulation there.
Pay particular attention to the pipework in your loft – and, if you need to, get that pipework insulated. Pipe insulation is easy to come by, is relatively cheap and can significantly help when you are trying to keep your home warm this winter.
Usually grey in colour, this insulation is produced ready-shaped to fit around the pipe – and, as such, is easy to install. Make sure you get some elbow insulation joints, too, as these will easily take care of any bends and corners in your piping system and stop them losing valuable heat.
Insulation really is one of the most valuable investments that a homeowner can make this year. Even outdoors, insulating any garden taps you may have would be very useful, as this will prevent freezing. Pipe insulation is known as “lagging” and can be found in most good hardware shops. It’s rather inexpensive, so lagging is definitely a worthwhile investment.
So, as you can see, there is a lot that you can do to minimise the risk of any cold-weather-related damage to your home this winter. We’re sure you’ll agree that all of the tips we’ve mentioned don’t actually require that much effort, especially in the grand scheme of things.
Once you’ve followed all of these tips and done all that you personally can do to minimise nasty weather risks, then maybe it’s time to call in a professional. We’ve mentioned that insulation can help – and, given that so much heat is naturally lost through the roof of your house, maybe you should consider researching roofers in Newcastle upon Tyne.