Preparing Your Home For Winter
The long, gentle autumn has given us more spectacular colours, for longer, than we usually see, and it’s been a real treat. The honeymoon from summer is finally over, though, and it’s time to turn our attention to the fast-approaching winter.
Get your home winter-ready and stay safe and snug no matter what the weather does, by tackling these basic maintenance jobs and checks:
Manufacturers recommend central heating boilers are serviced annually. If you haven’t had yours checked over yet, get in now while there’s still time. Murphy’s Law states if it’s going to break down, it’ll do it on the coldest day, over a weekend. Prices for a basic service are not astronomical and, if boiler cover is included in an insurance package, you’re leaving money on the table if you don’t take advantage of the service you’ve already paid for. Make sure you use a Gas Safe registered engineer.
Pipes and Guttering
Take a wander round the outside of the house and make sure all external water pipes are properly lagged, replacing any that’s showing signs of wear. It only takes one hard freeze for a burst pipe to ruin your day.
Check your guttering for leaks and drips. Sometimes they shift and seals stop working, and all it takes is a repositioning to get them watertight again. At the same time, make sure they’re running freely, and keep them that way by clearing out dirt and debris that can create damns, causing water overflows. Worse, badly blocked guttering can leak water into the walls and roof.
If you have a chimney, an annual sweep will save you the devastation of a chimney fire. Modern sweeping is quick and clean, and for peace of mind it’s a vital job.
Most of the expensive heat we buy is lost through the roof or through ill-fitting doors and windows. Make sure your draught proofing is in good condition and working effectively, and think about beefing up loft insulation if yours is a little thin. You could look for government grants or schemes if cost is an issue, as these can help make basic home improvements more affordable.
Safe Paths and Drives
Icy paths are a dangerous hazard to you and your visitors. Now’s a good time to stock up on salt and a get a snow shovel to help keep paths clear of ice and snow.
In the Garden
· Keep the leaves that are still falling at bay through regular sweeping, and put them on the compost heap for a rich mulch or compost next year.
· Check for vegetation growing around external pipes (you can do this while you’re checking the lagging) and remove it. Weeds can soon take hold, causing damage to pipework.
· Plant spring bedding or winter flowering plants for a splash of fresh colour to welcome you home on dull, winter days.
You don’t have to be a DIY expert to get most of these jobs done, and afterwards you can sit back, snug and safe in a warm, comfortable home.