Wednesday 17 November 2021

5 Things Around Your Home to Check Before Winter

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Darker evenings, the hunt for a missing glove every morning before school and even my husband asking for the heating on can only mean one thing... winter is well and truly on its way. The weather has been very up and down over the last month but as the last leaves fall from the trees and the temperature drops, it definitely feels so much colder and bitter in the mornings now. I even saw reports of minus temperatures and snow on the news recently too, and as excited as the kids might be for a snow day, I am not looking forward to those blisteringly cold temperature changes. 

Whilst we think of the obvious when it comes to it getting colder such as coats, hats, gloves,  loading the car with de-icer, we often forget about things around our home that also need checking as winter approaches. Today I am sharing below five things that we all need to check around our homes before winter to ensure we stay warm, safe and cosy in our homes, regardless of the temperature outside! 

Check your boiler/ book a service

Your boiler is probably one of the most important things in your home, especially during winter. So it is really important that you keep your boiler serviced and running smoothly all year round. As winter approaches it can be a great time to get your boiler serviced which is something that is advised to be done yearly by a registered gas safe engineer. Whilst it may seem like an added cost, keeping your boiler running smoothly can actually safe you money in the long run, especially as if your boiler does break down. Boiler repairs are costly (especially if you need to call out an engineer over Christmas!) and a new boiler can cost thousands. 

It is also worth thinking about how old your boiler is, the older it is the less efficient it will be. Therefore if you think it might be time to replace your old boiler try doing this before winter hits to ensure you aren't left without water or heating during the coldest months of the year. 

When checking your boiler this can also be a good reminder to ensure you have installed and have a working carbon monoxide monitor fitted in your home. Boilers especially those that have not been well maintained or that might be old can be a risk of carbon monoxide leaks which can go undetected until it is too late. A carbon monoxide alarm is a cheap (you can pick these up for £15-£20) and easy way to ensure you would be alerted to any possible leaks early. 

Clear drainage and guttering 

Whilst the colours of autumn might look beautiful on the ground, they can cause havoc which your drainage and guttering on your home. Having efficient guttering is essentially for ensuring rain water can flow away from places such as the roof so that they do not cause damage to your home, if your guttering is blocked it simply cannot do that. Blockages can be caused by a number of things but it is usually items such as leaves, twigs, moss and general debris that has been blown into it by the blustery autumn winds. 

Failing to clear clogged or blocked drainage and guttering can lead to serious issues in your home including damp and mould which are very unpleasant and can be difficult problems to solve. Clearing your guttering is a fairly simple job and if you have access to a ladder and some help you could probably do it yourself. However if you don't want to do it yourself many window cleaning companies as well as dedicated guttering clearing services can help and the costs for this are usually fairly low. 

Seal up any draughts 

There is nothing worse than paying to heat your home, feeling all toasty and warm, just to get hit my a draughty spot in the home that turns your home cold again as soon as your heating is turned off. Draughts can appear anywhere but are most commonly found around external doors and windows. 

Take some time to go around your home on a cold day and feel around any windows and doors to see if you can feel any cold air getting through. If you can there are a number of ways you can stop this from using draught excluders for doors and heavy lined curtains for windows to insulation tape or sealant that you can apply to the window itself. 

Bleed your radiators and insulate pipes 

Many of us have already given in and put our heating on with temperatures dropping already. But if you've noticed your radiators feel hot at the bottom but cold on top, it could mean they need bleeding. This is totally normal after several months of likely minimal or no use. This often happens because air gets into the radiators and prevents them from filling and heating properly. 

Bleeding your radiators is definitely a job you can do yourself and will only take a few minutes (but can make a bit different). To bleed your radiators you will need to purchase a bleed key which can be picked up from any DIY or hardware shop, turn off your heating and locate the bleed valve on your radiator (usually found near the bottom on the side). Once you have found the valve, insert the key and twist 180 degrees slowly. You will hear a hissing noise and this is the air escaping, when you begin to see water dripping out this means all of the air is gone and you can twist back closed and that is that radiator finished. Make sure you check all of the radiators in your home. 

If you really want to ensure your heating and hot water is protected and as cost effective as possible during the winter you could even look at insulating the pipes in your home too. You can pick up the insulation for these pipes in most DIY shops and is a job most people can manage themselves. Not only will this protect your pipes from dropping temperatures but it could save you money in the long run too. 

Stock up on supplies 

Now when I say stock up, I don't mean rush out to the shops and buy 100 loo rolls! But stocking up on "winter essentials" and storing these in a safe place in your home is a good habit to get into for winter. Think smart to save space and only stock up on items that you may need should power be out due to weather or you are unable to get due to snow etc, really the essentials. 

Items including candles, torches and batteries are great to have in case of a power cut. You might also want to store some clean blankets and winter duvets in case you are unable to use your heating due to a power cut for example, winter nights can be very chilly! Food and drink items such as bottled water and non perishable items (crisps, biscuits etc) are also a good idea to have on hand just in case too, especially if you have children or elderly people living with you who may need to eat and drink more often. 

Making these checks now will not only ensure your home is winter ready and safe, but many of these checks can actually save you money throughout the winter, especially in things such as energy costs which are currently rising. If you are unsure of what to do, or you are carrying out any more specialist jobs such as those involving your boiler it is always important to have a trained professional do these for you. 

Do you do any of the above around your home as winter approaches? Or do you have any other tips for keeping your home warm and safe this winter? If so I would love to hear them in the comments below. 


1 comment:

  1. I particularly appreciated your tips on checking the smoke detectors, water heater, and air filters, as these are often neglected but essential components of a safe and functional home. Your suggestion of maintaining a checklist is also a great idea to stay on top of regular maintenance and avoid any unexpected surprises.