There's nothing more satisfying than knowing that you’ve got everything sorted for winter.
Winter-proof your home before the festive season so you can relax and enjoy having your family over for dinner parties or cosy nights indoors. Our tips will help you protect your home from the worst of the weather and could also help you save money on your heating bills.
Keep the heat in
1. Close your blinds, curtains and doors to rooms that aren’t in use
The thicker your curtains, the more they’ll keep the warmth in and the draughts out. If yours aren’t up to the job, consider lining them with a thick cloth to make them more effective. During the day when the sun’s shining keep your curtains, blinds, or shutters open to let in the warmth and shut the doors and turn off the radiators in rooms that aren't being used.
2. Fill up any gaps around the house
Heat can escape through cracks and gaps around doors and windows, so fill them with insulating strips or blankets. Keyholes, letterboxes, and cat flaps can also let in draughts. If you have any disused fireplaces, make sure the flue is covered or buy a chimney balloon to help stop cold air coming through.
3. Increase your radiator heat
To improve the efficiency of your radiators, bleed them twice a year particularly before it starts to get cooler. Placing shelves above radiators will direct heat into the room rather than up to the ceiling but try to avoid having heat-absorbing furniture in front of them. It’s also a good idea to line radiators on external walls with ordinary kitchen foil or heat reflector foil sheets.
4. Insulate hot water tanks and pipes
Insulate your hot water tank and pipes to keep your water hot for longer. Buy a British Standard hot water tank jacket to save money on energy bills. It’s also worth buying primary foam pipe insulation which sits between your hot water cylinder and boiler.
5. Use a thermostat to control your heating
Control the temperature of your home using a thermostat on a timer for consistency. Set your thermostat to the lowest comfortable temperature, which is usually 18 to 21 degrees. Using a timer enables you to turn on the heating sooner and helps keep the rooms you are using at the right temperature.
6. Survey your surroundings
Even if you leave it until there’s a weather warning, it’s worth a scoot around the garden to check things are in order. Store away wheelie bins in a shed or garage if you can – or wedge them in a corner to stop them blowing about. Check any garden gates or doors to make sure the catch is sturdy enough to keep them closed or brace them, so they stay shut. Take a good look in your gutters for any debris. If things look fine, dash out on the next rainy day to see how your gutters, downpipes and drains are performing.
7. Winter-proofing your garden
Watching the flowers blossom in the spring and summer months is the best reward for all that hard work planting and pruning - don’t let it all go to waste in the winter. Ensure your more tender plants are looked after in the colder weather. Pick them up from borders, pot them up, and move them under shelter, either indoors or in a heated greenhouse. For more tips, take a look at our 10 top tips for getting your garden winter ready here.
8. Floods and power cuts
Winter winds and snowfall can easily damage powerlines, so make sure you know where your torch is and that you have batteries for it. You could buy a low-energy battery-run or rechargeable camping lamp or head torch so you can keep your hands free. Make sure to also put the hotline number of your electricity provider in your phone or save the web address on your tablet or laptop to get updates on when the power is expected to return.
If there’s any possibility that your home could get flooded or you are in an at-risk area make sure to sign up for flood alerts and prepare a flood plan – there is lots of information and advice here.
9. Improve the efficiency of your boiler
Get your boiler serviced regularly to keep it running safely and smoothly. An annual check by a Gas Safe registered engineer will help to reduce the chances of your boiler breaking down and to detect any issues early on before they become a bigger problem. It’s also worth checking how long you’ve had your boiler, especially if you’re struggling to heat your home and water. Modern A-rated condensing boilers are the most efficient and economical to run.
10. Check your Home Insurance cover
It’s important that your home insurance covers you properly all year round, but it’s even more important during the winter. Winter weather can result in more claims, so make sure you’re covered for all eventualities. If you already have a policy with us, you can check your home insurance details and much more at MySaga. Claims information can be found here.
Are you looking to protect your car during the winter too? Check out our Top 10 tips for winter-proofing your car.