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Preparing your house for winter

Preparing your house for winter

When the nights draw in and temperatures start to drop, it’s time to start getting your home ready for winter. From servicing your boiler to cleaning your gutters, here’s how to prepare, inside and out.

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
minute read
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Posted 4 NOVEMBER 2019

1. Get your boiler serviced

A boiler is one of the hardest working appliances in any home, so most energy suppliers will tell you it’s important that it’s serviced at least once a year.

Many people choose to take out boiler insurance. But it’s worth bearing in mind that if you have boiler cover and you need to make a claim, lack of proper maintenance could invalidate your policy.

If you don’t already have boiler cover, some insurance providers allow you to add it to your existing home insurance policy for a fee.

2. Bleed your radiators

When the weather gets cold, you’ll want your radiators working to their full capacity. Bleeding radiators at least once a year can ensure the hot water in them keeps circulating properly.

3. Have your chimney professionally swept

According to the National Association of Chimney Sweeps, having your chimney swept professionally will ‘aid in the prevention of chimney fires and reduce the risk of dangerous fume emissions from blocked heating appliances, flue-ways and chimneys’.

It’s recommended you have your chimney properly swept at least once a year, or after an extended period of non-use. You can find an expert chimney sweep in your area via the NACS website.

4. Check all doors and windows

Door and window seals can start to show signs of wear and tear after a few years and potentially let cold air into the house, This could result in less efficient heating and higher energy bills. Take a little time to check the seals and any putty around your doors and windows, and fill any gaps with caulk.

5. Protect your pipes

Check that pipes are properly insulated and replace the insulation if it’s no longer in a good condition. You can pick up insulated tubing from any good DIY store.

6. Clear all drains and gutters

Give drains and gutters a proper clean-out before the heavier rains of late autumn/winter. If debris isn’t removed, it can lead to damp problems and internal leaks.

7. Invest in insulation

Insulation can help you save on your energy bills, as well as give you the benefit of extra warmth. There are two types of wall insulation:

  • Cavity wall This is designed for homes with walls that are made of two layers, with a gap or ‘cavity’ between them. Insulating material is injected into the cavity.
  • Solid wall insulation Houses built before 1920 will probably have solid walls. These can be insulated externally or internally, but doing this involves a considerable amount of work and, if insulating externally, may require planning permission.

Around 25% of heat is lost through the roof of an uninsulated home. Insulating your loft, attic room or flat roof can cut heat loss and save you money. The recommended depth of mineral wool insulation is 270mm, but other materials may need different depths.

Get the garden in order

Falling leaves can clog up gutters and drains, and loose branches and foliage could cause damage in a storm. Tidy up the garden and give trees and shrubs a prune to get them winter ready. Put away any garden furniture and equipment that’s not completely weatherproof.

Check the roof 

Your home needs to be watertight, so give the roof a quick survey to check for damage, and get any loose tiles replaced.

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