As the leaves start to fall and the days grow shorter, we know that winter is just around the corner. It’s time to batten down the hatches and prepare our homes for the chilly season ahead. In the UK, though winter is usually just a little tedious and depressing, there are times when it can admittedly get harsher, with freezing temperatures, heavy snowfall, and biting winds.
Fear not, with a bit of preparation, you can ensure your home is cosy, safe, and energy-efficient throughout the winter months. Here’s how…
Insulate Your Home
Insulation is the key to a warm and cosy home. It’s worth checking your loft insulation to ensure it’s up to the recommended 270mm depth. If it’s not, consider topping it up. Cavity wall insulation can also make a significant difference in keeping the heat in and the cold out. Don’t forget to insulate your pipes to prevent them from freezing and bursting.
Recaulk Windows & Doors
Caulking your windows and doors once a year can prevent water damage and heat loss. The necessary materials, including a caulk gun and exterior caulk, are relatively inexpensive to buy online or at your local B&Q (other hardware stores exist, etc.) and can be completed in one day.
It’s best only to caulk the outside perimeter of your doors and window moulding. Using exterior caulk will ensure the material can withstand harsh environmental conditions without shrinking or expanding as the seasons change. You’ll find the usual YouTube tutorial videos ready to offer a handy step-by-step process. Alternatively, you can speak to the experts at your local hardware store for helpful tips and guidance.
Maintain Your Fireplace
If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace, it can be a wonderful source of warmth during the winter months. But before you’re ready to curl up with a good book and your vape kit in front of yours, it’s important to ensure it’s properly maintained.
Have your chimney swept at least once a year to remove soot and debris, reducing the risk of chimney fires. If you have a wood-burning stove, make sure you’re using seasoned wood to minimise smoke and soot build-up. And remember; always use a fireguard to protect against flying sparks.
Check Your Central Heating System
Before the cold snap hits, it’s a good idea to have your boiler serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer. This will ensure it’s working efficiently and safely. Bleed your radiators to remove any trapped air, which can prevent them from heating up fully. If your radiators are colder at the top than the bottom, this is a sign they need bleeding.
Draught-Proof Your Home
Draughts can make your home feel colder and cause your heating system to work harder. Check for draughts around windows, doors, letterboxes, and keyholes. Draught excluders are a cheap and effective way to keep the cold air out and the warm air in.
Clear Your Gutters & Drains
Autumn leaves can block gutters and drains, leading to water damage when the rain and snow arrive. Clear them out to prevent any potential issues. While you’re at it, check your roof for any missing or loose tiles that could let in the cold, rain and snow.
Keep an Eye On The Forecast
The Met Office provides regular weather updates and warnings, so keep an eye on the forecast so you can be prepared for any severe weather. If heavy snow is predicted, make sure you have a shovel and some grit to clear paths and driveways.
Stock Up On Essentials
Though it is a fairly rare occurrence in the UK, in case of severe weather it’s wise to have a stock of essentials at home. This includes food and drink, but also medicine and medication, in case you can’t get out for a few days.
Look Out For Your Neighbours
Winter can be a difficult time, especially for the elderly and those living alone. If you have neighbours who might need help, check in on them regularly. Offer to help with shopping or making sure their thermostat is bang on the nose, or just pop in for a chat to brighten their day.
Protect Your Garden
Though most attention falls on hygge-fying your home in time for the colder months, don’t forget about your garden when preparing for winter, either. Protect delicate plants with fleece or move them into a greenhouse if you have one. Drain and store garden hoses to prevent them from freezing and bursting. If you have a pond, consider installing a pond heater to prevent it from freezing over, which can be harmful to fish and other wildlife.
Check Your Home Insurance
Winter weather can cause all sorts of problems, from frozen pipes to storm damage. Now is a good time to check your home insurance policy to ensure you’re adequately covered for any winter-related issues. It’s also worth checking whether your policy includes home emergency cover, which could provide valuable assistance if you have a problem like a boiler breakdown.
The Bottom Line
Winter in the UK can be a challenge, but with a bit of preparation, you can ensure your home is ready to face whatever the season throws at it. So, batten down the hatches, get your home winter-ready, and enjoy the cosy nights in, safe in the knowledge that you’re well-prepared for the cold weather.