Keeping warm and protecting your home against the chillier weather
With cooler temperatures kicking in once summer is over it’s a good idea to ensure your home is ready to face the rigours of winter and the colder weather.
It’s far better to plan ahead rather than having to respond to problems later caused by the ravages of winter affecting a weak point in your home. Many householders don’t check ahead and invite problems – don’t be one of them.
Here’s how to help ensure your home is ready for winter:
Check your boiler and central heating system
If your boiler hasn’t been serviced in at least a year book one as soon as possible before winter sets in, and have your overall central heating system checked while you’re about it.
Ensure you secure the services of a Gas Safe registered professional local to you; find one by searching for ‘central heating south London’ if you’re in that area of the capital.
They’ll ensure your boiler is working correctly and, if any issues, can get them attended to in good time; don’t risk a boiler break down once temperatures really dip.
General exterior repairs
If you can (or if you can’t ask an expert roofer to help you) inspect the roof and the area around the chimney.
Any loose slates, tiles or cracks around the chimney should be repaired as they are obvious vulnerabilities for water ingress, ice formation and further damage from high winds and snow.
Ensure your gutters are clear of leaves and other debris; if left unchecked, water can spill over and cause damage to brickwork, and ice can form damaging the gutters maybe to the point of them cracking and requiring replacement.
Ensure pipes are lagged to prevent them freezing and maybe bursting; areas such as lofts and garages that tend to be colder should be inspected and pipes lagged where appropriate.
Is your home properly insulated?
Even if your loft has insulation, it may have been done some time back and not be thick enough by current standards. The Energy Saving Trust recommend at least 120mm to 270mm as a minimum.
Loft insulation is a very effective way to keep your home warmer as heat naturally rises so is lost through the roof.
Other ways to insulate your home are worth looking into; some are simple such as basic draught proofing and lagging radiators.
When insulating be careful of causing condensation issues; for example, a highly insulated loft may prevent heat loss but could cause condensation and moisture issues as the air can no longer circulate naturally through and out. You may have to add ventilation to insulation projects.
If you have one, have your chimney swept before winter gets under way; it’ll help protect the chimney against damage and make an open fire far more effective.
Oil top up
If you have oil fired heating ensure you have the tank filled in good time; you may get the oil a little cheaper before the higher demand periods of the year start, and there’s nothing worse than running out then having to wait for a refill.
Along with saving on heating and ensuring your home is secured against exterior weather forces, remember the nights draw in and exterior lighting may be very important if your home is in a poorly lit area.
Ensure your outside lights are all working and are clean so you derive maximum benefit, and maybe stock up on replacement bulbs.
Use expert help
As with ensuring you use the services of a professionally qualified plumber to service and inspect your boiler, use the services of experts for other jobs if they’re outside your scope.
For example, if you’re not sure about climbing onto your roof to make an inspection or whether you know how to insulate your loft properly, then seek the necessary help from roofers or insulation experts as required.