There’s no denying the inevitable – winter is coming. Icy temperatures and inclement conditions are on the horizon once again, which makes this the perfect time to make sure that your home’s ready to withstand anything the period might throw at you.
From shopping smart to simple DIY fixes around the house, both inside and out, consider this a to-do list to ensure the season goes smoothly for you and your home…
Test your heating system
Don’t wait until the temperatures plummet to turn on your heating for the first time in months. See if your radiators need bleeding (you’ll be able to tell if they’re cool at the top and hot at the bottom) and consider whether it’s time you had your boiler serviced.
Clean your chimney
You’ll want peace of mind when it comes time to light the fire, so get a professional in to ensure it's fit for the season ahead. It’s a time to be extra mindful of your carbon monoxide and fire alarm, too; make sure both are in good working order.
Check doors and windows
A nasty draught is bad enough in terms of staying comfy and warm – and that’s without mentioning what it could do to your heating bill! Take the time to suss outdoor and window frames, especially any windows that have spent months in the same open position through the summer, for certainty that they close snugly.
Insulate your tanks and pipes
Fitting a lagging jacket on your water tank, and foam covers for hot water pipes, isn’t just a great way of keeping your water warm for longer and therefore cutting down on energy waste; it should also prevent them from freezing during the winter months.
Trim your trees
Cutting back your foliage serves a number of vital purposes as winter draws in. Firstly, it reduces the chance of a branch damaging your home if it falls during a storm. Secondly, it eliminates the threat of water dripping from overhanging branches and seeping into cracks in your roof.
For bigger jobs, it is recommended you get a professional service to cut or lop the trees safely. And finally, it should help reduce the amount of debris that gathers in your gutters. Oh, and speaking of which…
Clear your gutters
Clogged gutters and downpipes are a headache waiting to happen, so take action to ensure everything is in good shape by cleaning your gutters. Once the trees have shed, make sure the twigs, leaves and general muck are cleared, and check that the brackets and hangers of your gutters are tight and secure.
Check your tap
A small drip from an external tap might not seem like a major cause for concern – but if it results in an ice patch forming outside your door, it could become a real hazard. Confirm that there’s no leakage when shut off, and that the valves and connections are intact.
Test your lights
When night falls in mid-afternoon, you don’t want to be left in the dark; check to see that the lighting around your house and garden is functional, and sufficient to allow you to move around your property when natural light is limited…
Your retail readiness can be broken into two parts; the things that will definitely be necessary, and the things you hope won’t! For the former, make sure you’ve enough fuel, keep salt or grit in plentiful supply for icy periods, and make sure you’ve got an ice scraper in your car for frosty mornings.
Then, there’s the stuff you can cross your fingers you won’t need – but you’d be smart to have on hand. Have an easily accessible torch with plenty of spare batteries, as well as matches and candles, in case stormy winter weather causes a power cut; buy in some throat drops, tissues, and whatever else you might need if the ill effects of the cold weather strike; and bottled water and non-perishable foods will be a lifesaver if you’re ever trapped indoors for an extended period!
Once you’ve taken all the necessary steps to weatherproof your home, you’ll want to ensure it’s safe from fire during the colder months. Check out our winter fire safety tips for peace of mind.