Tips to Prepare Your Home for Winter

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Following a relatively benign winter last year and an unseasonably warm November, as a homeowner, you could be forgiven for being lulled into a false sense of security regarding protecting your property.

However, with the coldest winter in 50 years reported to be on its way to the UK, is your home prepared for arctic conditions? We’ve compiled our top tips to prepare your home for winter, from easy D.I.Y. jobs to larger projects that could save you money in the long run.

Tips to Prepare your Home for Winter

The Basics

Home Insurance – It seems simple, but are you covered for possible effects of a harsh winter? Burst pipes and leaking roofs are more likely to occur during winter, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Check your policy to make sure your insurance company will foot the bill if something major does go wrong.

Bleed your Radiators – This can be a daunting task to a novice, but it is easy. It only requires a radiator key and containers and will help you make the most of your heating this winter. Go one step further and install radiator reflector panels to reflect your radiators’ heat back into your home.

Keep out draughts – Keep the icy draughts of cold winter air from sneaking into your warm and cosy home through your windows and doors. These little things can make a big difference:

  • Use draft excluders on all doors, especially those leading to draughty rooms.
  • Fit an insulated letterbox flap.
  • Re-caulk your windows. This will seal off the gaps and cracks that are letting cold air into your home. Note: Be careful not to block any ventilation such as fans, air bricks and vents.
  • Line your curtains. Curtains and blinds are an easy and efficient way to keep your home a little bit warmer. Adding a thick lining to your curtains makes them even more effective at keeping out the cold.
  • Fit draft strips to your external doors.
  • Use a chimney pillow on unused chimneys. Alternatively, make use of the chimney over the winter months with a beautiful new fireplace and a roaring fire.

Quick Checks

Check for loose or missing Tiles – A problem with even one or two of your roof tiles can allow water to leak inside your home. Left unattended this leak could cause damp, water damage and, in a worst-case scenario, lead to rot. The longer you leave this problem, the harder and more expensive it is to solve. Find out if your home has a problem by looking for missing or loose-looking tiles on your roof. You can do this safely from the ground by using binoculars and fix any problems before they cause any damage.

Check your Gutters and Drains – Something as simple as leaves, weeds or debris can cause a blockage in your guttering. With the extra strain of wintry weather, any blockage could create issues such as damp, and possibly subsidence.

Insulation is the Solution

Roof and Loft Insulation – As we all remember from our chemistry classes, heat rises. This relates to the fact that on average, 25% of the heat from your house is lost through your roof (according to the National Insulation Association). Adding just 27mm of loft insulation can save the average detached house £240 on fuel bills and will last for over 40 years. There are a variety of suitable materials, some you can fit yourself whereas others will need a professional installer.

Cavity Wall Insulation – The average detached house could save up to £275 per year on heating bills, just by insulating the cavity walls, according to Energy Saving Trust. Even better than that, the average cavity wall insulation generally pays for itself within five years. There are numerous types of cavity wall insulation that could be suitable for keeping your home warmer this winter. Give us a call to find out which is the best for your home.

Floor Insulation – Have you felt concrete? It’s always cold isn’t it? An un-insulated concrete sub floor can absorb up to 30% of your home’s heating! Carpeted, wooden and vinyl floor insulation happens during the fitting process by adding an insulating layer underneath.

Insulate your pipes and water tanks – Frozen pipes can become cracked and burst. And that’s never going to be good! Protecting your pipes is really easy and inexpensive and you can buy foam lagging at any good DIY shop. Simply wrap it around your pipes and secure it with some strong tape or cable ties. A little tip for the corners; cut your tube at 45-degree angles. Your water tank is much less likely to crack, but you can make it more energy-efficient by wrapping a British Standard tank jacket around as much of your tank as possible.

Do these tips to prepare your home for winter sound like a lot of work?

We can help with any job, ensuring your home is protected, whatever the weather throws at us! Contact John O’Connell Building Solutions, your local builder in Lawford and Manningtree.

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