How to prepare your home for winter

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March 27, 2017
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How to prepare your home for winter

To help you prepare your home for the winter months we have provided some tips and advice you can put into action now.
DRAUGHT PROOF

Check your home for any gaps where chilly breezes could sneak in. The most likely places are around doors and windows, attics and pipes which lead outside.

Draught proofing floors and fixing gaps is an easy, affordable job that you can do to retain warmth in your home and cut down energy bills.

To keep in the warmth and keep out the cold, you can insulate beneath timber floors by lifting the floorboards and laying insulating material, supported by netting, between the joists. Use a tube sealant, such as silicon, to fill any gaps between the floorboards and skirting boards.

Make sure you don’t block ventilation to your floorboards by sealing under-floor airbricks in external walls though. And be aware that some rooms such as bathrooms and kitchens need to be properly ventilated.

INSULATE

Get your pipes and water tanks insulated. And if your home’s lacking in padding, now’s the time to sort this out. You can also find out about energy grants that could help you to get your home ready for winter too. We explore some insulation types below:

Cavity wall insulation

Cavity wall insulation fills the space between your exterior walls with insulating material. It helps you to save energy and money, as well as making your home feel much warmer.

It can also reduce condensation in your house. Installation of cavity wall insulation is guaranteed for 25 years by the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA).

Loft insulation

Insulating your loft can save you a fortune on annual energy bills by adding insulation between the ceiling and the roof.

The recommended depth of loft insulation for a home is 270mm, so if your loft is already insulated it pays during winter to check that it’s adequately insulated.

BLEED YOUR RADIATORS

A great way to warm up your home is to bleed your radiators. This releases any trapped air, allowing hot water to fill every part of your radiator and warm your home more efficiently.

GET A BOILER SERVICE

Arrange for your boiler to be serviced every year. As everyone starts to switch on their central heating, the surge in gas consumption can lead to a big increase in boiler breakdowns.

IF YOU GET FROZEN PIPES

We’ve put together a mini guide on what to do if you have a burst or frozen pipe, as we’re sure it will come in handy:

Find the stop valve and turn it off immediately.
A pipe freezing is different from a pipe bursting. You should open all cold taps to drain the system, but never turn on the hot taps. Your hot water cylinder may collapse if the pipes leading to it are frozen.
Call a registered plumber if you are in any doubt about what to do.
THAWING OUT YOUR PIPES…

When thawing out pipes never attempt to thaw out frozen pipes by switching on your immersion heater or central heating boiler.
Instead, check for leaking joints or bursts in the pipes.
Then gently heat any frozen sections with a hairdryer or a heated cloth wrapped around the pipe. Never apply a direct flame.
CHEAP AND EASY HEAT-SAVING DEVICES

Use draught excluders at the bottom of doors and across your letter box to keep the warmth in and the cold air out.
Attach a sheet of tin foil behind radiators to reflect radiant heat back into the room. You can buy special radiator foil for this, but household tin foil attached to cardboard is cheaper and just as effective.
A shelf above radiators helps to deflect heat to the middle of the room.
Block gaps on windows and around electrical fittings.
Keep windows and doors shut when the heating is on.
Turn the heating down if you’re too hot – just turning it down by 1 degree Centigrade can save up to 10 per cent on fuel bills.
Take a shower rather than a bath – showers use a lot less hot water.
Close all curtains at dusk to keep the heat in.
Keep internal doors closed to reduce draughts.