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Prepare your home for winter

Dec 22, 2014

As the temperature drops and it becomes icy and cold it’s important to make sure your home is winter-proof. Here are some top tips on keeping cosy this winter – and making sure your house survives the big freeze!

Service your boiler: You can avoid boiler breakdowns during the winter by ensuring you have an annual service. Make sure you use a Gas Safe Register engineer – getting your boiler services could save you hundreds of pounds and inconvenience. The last thing you want is to be without central heating during a cold snap or when you have the family around for Christmas!

Protect your Pipes: Frozen pipes are one of the most common problems that homeowners face during winter months and frozen and burst pipe disasters can be costly. To protect your pipes you might want to invest in jackets for the pipes and boiler. Make sure your heating is on at a low for the majority of the time, and especially when your property is vacant for long periods of time.

Have your chimneys swept: If you like to relax in front of an open fire then you should arrange to have your chimneys swept by a NACS registered chimney sweep – it’s important for fire safety to keep your chimney in good order – if you have an open fire in your home, it is recommended that your chimney is swept at least once a year to prevent a build up of debris which could start a fire.

Invest in draught excluders: No matter how good your heating is if wind is getting in through gaps under doors then you could end up living in a home that is far too cold. Draught excluders can keep the cold at bay, ensuring that your home is nice and warm, and helping you to minimise your regular outgoing energy bills.

Insulate your loft: Insulating your loft will keep you warmer and save you money on your energy bills - your home could be losing 25 per cent of its heat via the roof so make sure you have the best insulation possible. Grants are available for some households – to find out if you are eligible for a grant visit www.energysavingtrust.org.uk

Use thick curtains and radiator reflectors: Other lower-tech tricks include using heavy curtains over windows (taking care not to cover radiators), and increasing heat by using metal radiator-reflectors. Bear in mind that thermostatic radiator valves will cut bills in winter. During colder spells, keep the heating on low (the ‘snowflake setting’), particularly if you leave the house — this will ensure you don’t have an unpleasant surprise when pipes thaw after a cold spell.

Clean out your gutters: It might seem like a messy and monotonous task but gutters  which are cluttered with all the autumn debris could cause a water blockage, which may lead to damp or worse. If a gutter is then blocked up with water it could freeze over and pull away from the building so don those gloves and clear the gutters of autumn clutter!

Check your roof: Before the weather starts to get really bad check you roof for missing tiles, cracks, and any other little holes where water could seep through. It’s also worth checking inside the roof to make sure you can’t see any possible winter disasters.

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