Get your house ready for winter
The clocks will soon go back for winter and once again we’ll be coming home from work in the dark. As the days begin to get shorter and colder, it’s a good idea to start thinking about what you might need to do to protect your home for the winter months.
The cold, wind and rain can do serious damage to houses, as well as the inevitable increase in heating bills. With a few preventive measures, however, you can ensure your home is fighting fit for winter. Here are the Wiggs top tips to ensure your home gets through the winter period without incident.
- Clear your gutters and drains. We know it’s probably the last thing you want to do, but if you live anywhere near trees then you’re likely to have leaves and autumn debris stuck in your gutters and potentially mud stuck in your drains. Once gutters become blocked the overflowing water can cause damage to brickwork and leaks in roofs and walls.
Minimising the risk of water damage by ensuring your gutters are clear from any possible build up.
- Check your insulation. Roughly a quarter of the heat in your house is lost through the roof, so having good loft and wall cavity insulation will trap the heat and keep your house warm with less energy used. These improvements needn’t cost the earth, as there are a number of government grants and schemes that subsidise insulation installation.
- Protect your pipes. We don’t always get really cold winters here in the UK but if we get a consistently cold spell over the winter, there’s a chance that your water pipes could freeze. The best way to stop this is to protect them with a foam layer (called lagging) which will help to prevent them freezing and bursting.
Be sure to also remove any vegetation that surrounds the pipes as this can also cause damage.
- Sweep your chimney. If you have an open fire or log burner, it’s incredibly important to maintain your chimney. Many of us underestimate the severity of chimney fires and therefore forget about cleaning out the chimney. Chimney fires can occur fairly frequently during the winter months, so think about employing a professional to clean and take care of your chimney.
- Bleed your radiators. You’ve probably not had your heating on through the summer and early autumn months, so now that you’ve turned your heating back on, check If your radiators are colder at the top than they are at the bottom. If they are then your radiators have trapped air inside them that’s stopping the heat from circulating properly. Grab a towel and your radiator key (from the ‘man’ draw) and bleed that radiator! Bleeding the radiators releases the air, allowing the radiator to run more efficiently.
- Trim your trees. Now is a great time to be employing a local tree surgeon to trim back any overhanging branches. This will reduce the amount of foliage that will drop into the guttering, and will also reduce the likelihood of tree damage on roofs broken branches in high winter winds.
- Get your boiler checked. Having no central heating over the winter is no fun at all (trust us we know.) Get your boiler checked and serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer. They’ll make sure your appliance is running efficiently and will see you through the winter with hot water and central heating.
- Check doors and windows for draughts. Go around your house and check each room for draughts coming through doors and windows. This is especially relevant on old houses where windows and doors don’t always have the best fit and draughts can get in through exposed nooks and crannies.
Making sure that your house is ready for winter shouldn’t take long or cost the earth. Fixing potential problems now will save you money in the long run and prevent major problems that are expensive, intrusive and time consuming to fix. Something as simple as standing outside and inspecting a roof with a pair of binoculars can help you spot potential problems – and at ground level tile debris and broken shards can be tell-tale signs of problem areas allowing rain to enter and cause rot.
If you find something that needs fixing, speak to a builder you can trust to get the problem fixed quickly and professionally.