As any Game of Thrones superfan will chant as the evenings draw in, ‘winter is coming’. Just how mild, wet, bitterly cold or stormy it will be this year, nobody knows, but one thing is certain – winterising your home can save you money and stress in the coming months. Not doing so may leave you – literally – out in the cold.
Here are some jobs around the home that should be done now before the big freeze arrives:-
- If it ain’t broke, STILL fix it
Starting outside, it’s important to get rid of any leaves, moss and other debris that can block your gutters, downpipes and gullies to prevent leaks and breakages. Secure or fix any broken or loose roof tiles, and repair any broken fence panels before winter gales blow them away completely. Also check for cracks in external walls and consider getting them repointed.
- Carry out a heating health-check
Whatever type of heating system you have, make sure it’s in good working order before it’s too late. Check storage and immersion heaters, get chimneys swept and your boiler serviced. Some households will have a regular boiler service included as part of an insurance policy or care plan, but if not, you can get a Gas Safe registered engineer to carry one out from as little as £75, or contact your energy supplier for a quote. You should also bleed your radiators to maximise their efficiency.
- Shop around for energy suppliers
Cranking up the thermostat will impact your energy bills so before you become too reliant on your radiators, compare the best energy deals. You can switch suppliers – even if you’re a tenant – and potentially save hundreds of pounds each year on gas and electricity. You may consider a smart meter at the same time as switching, which will help you identify costly appliances that are used more in winter, such as fan heaters and tumble dryers.
- Draughtproof windows and doors
Whether you opt for a DIY reseal or use more complex weatherstripping techniques, make sure the warmth in your home is not escaping through your windows and doors. Use draught excluders, and upgrade curtains and blinds to thermal versions to keep the heat in.
- Insulate, insulate, insulate
According to The Green Age, about 25% of the heat in a house escapes through the loft, 35% through the walls and 10% through the floor. Insulating these areas can dramatically reduce heating bills. Insulating pipes with foam tubes, also known as lagging, can also prevent them from freezing or worse – bursting.
- Be prepared
With winter comes an increased risk of power cuts and storm damage, so it’s advisable to take some time preparing in advance. Put together a power cut survival kit and ensure you know where your stopcock is (82% of 18-24 year olds have no idea). Check your insurance policy and consider home emergency cover – worryingly, research from Defaqto revealed that almost 3 in 4 home building and contents policies don’t include cover for home emergencies.
Green Homes Grant
Many of the action points above – including draught proofing, insulation and heating controls – are potentially covered by the Government’s new Green Homes Grant. There’s a narrow window for applications and vouchers are only valid for 3 months or until 31st March 2021, whichever is sooner. Find out what is covered, whether you’re eligible and apply using the dedicated online form.
If you would like more advice on winter home care or would like to move to a new property during the winter months, contact us today.