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With cooler weather just around the corner, you may be thinking about preparing your home for winter. But what does it involve? Winter brings a whole new host of problems to your home, with bitingly-cold temperatures and seemingly endless rain barraging against the walls.
There are a few things you can do in advance to make the transition from warm sunny days to crisp frosty mornings that bit easier. We’ve created this guide on preparing your home for winter without splashing too much cash.
Service Your Boiler
It’s no fun without hot water and heating as you sit and watch the snowflakes gently drifting past your window, creating a picture-perfect winter scene outside while the frostbite takes hold inside. And while a boiler service is one of the more expensive ideas on our list, it’s an investment that’s 100% worth it.
A boiler service ensures your boiler runs safely and efficiently, keeping you and your family toasty warm and in good health this winter. If your house is always cold, you’re more likely to feel unwell. A serviced boiler is an efficient boiler, which means lower bills, too. Besides, many insurance companies state a regular service is a requirement to keep your policy valid.
Master Your Heating and Hot Water Settings
With heating and hot water being one of the main culprits for increased energy bills during winter, it’s time to master their settings. Learning how to heat a house and making a few small tweaks now could save you valuable pennies in the long run. If it feels like your house is always cold, this section’s for you.
When preparing your home for winter, check your water temperature and lower it to 70 degrees if it’s any higher than this. You don’t need your boiler on max all winter, either. Save that for the harshest months to keep costs down.
How best to control the settings depends on the system you have, such as whether it’s gas or oil, a combi boiler or a traditional tank system. Spend some time reading up on your heating and hot water systems. The main elements to master are:
- Thermostatic radiator valves: control individual radiators with these
- Timers: Use it to set times for your heating to turn on and off
- Programmer: Set a schedule based on your activities for maximum efficiency
- Thermostat: Set the room temperature using your thermostat
- Smart apps: You can link some systems to smart apps, controlling your heating and hot water without even needing to be at home. Gone away and left the heating on? No worries. Simply turn it down via the app. We recommend leaving it on low if you’re going away to prevent frozen pipes.
Many people with basement areas in their properties, such as basement flats, suffer with damp over winter. The telltale musty smell and damp patches appearing on walls are undesirable, to say the least, and it can mean your house is always cold. These spaces will benefit from a lick of damp-proof paint to keep them feeling fresh.
Whilst it’s not a solution to underlying issues, it’s a nifty method for preventing mould growth on damp walls or anywhere prone to condensation. These paints include a water-reactive agent, nipping surface moisture in the bud. You can use it as a primer and apply your chosen paint, or opt for coloured damp-proof paint to match your decor.
The run-up to winter is the best time for clearing your gutters. Scooping out leaves, twigs and other debris allows water to flow freely. If water can’t drain, you run the risk of it overflowing the piping, potentially causing interior and exterior damage. In some situations, the freezing and expanding of sitting water can cause cracks in the foundations of your home.
Prep Wooden Window Frames
Tending to your wooden windows is an essential aspect of preparing your home for winter. Don’t have wooden ones? Lucky you. It’s not the most exciting way to spend a weekend, but it’s necessary to save you a whole load of money and hassle in the long run.
The constant grey drizzle of British wintertime wreaks havoc with exterior woodwork. Since wood expands when it’s wet, you need to protect wooden window frames to prevent them from cracking and warping in damp weather. Applying a fresh coat of paint will keep them looking sharp as well as protect your home for another season.
While you’re outside painting your window frames, check out your pipe lagging, too. Put simply, lagging is insulation for your pipes to prevent them from freezing in the arctic temperatures.
It’s a cheap and easy fix that doesn’t take long but can prevent expensive mishaps further down the line. Pipes can burst when they freeze, which is both expensive and heartbreaking when it happens. This is one of our top-rated tips when preparing your home for winter.
Hang Thermal Curtains
Windows and doors are pests for letting warm air out and cold air into your home. If your house is always cold, check all your windows and doors to see if you can feel a draft. When thinking about how to heat a house, it’s equally as critical to plan how you’re going to keep the heat in.
Hang thermal curtains over as many as you can, not forgetting the front door. The heavy fabric helps to trap warm air inside your home, keeping your heating bills down and your home toasty warm.
Maintain Your Water Tank
Now that winter is fast-approaching, you should take the time to maintain your water tank before the freezing temperatures set in. Similarly to cleaning your drains, if the pipes of your water tank freeze, you could be facing serious damage. This is the same for the surface of your tank. It is completely possible for the water inside your tank to freeze and expand, which may cause the walls to expand and develop cracks. A great way to remedy this is to install GRP Lining for water tanks. This will greatly reduce the likelihood of the walls of your water tank cracking and leaking.
Preparing your home for winter doesn’t have to be expensive and daunting. A fresh curtain here, a gutter clean there and you’ll notice the world of difference over winter. We’ve put together some of our favourite tips to keep you toasty warm, so you can don your wellies and enjoy crisp morning walks in peace. Each home is different though, so find out what works for your space.