Whilst we're all gearing up towards the festive season, it's important to remember that our homes become more vulnerable during the winter period - both to damage, heat loss and general aspects of safety. Each year, it's a good idea to make a few checks before the serious cold weather sets in to prevent any of the above.
Here's my 7 steps to make sure your home is safe and prepared for the cold weather this winter:
1. Check Gutters are Draining Correctly
Make sure your gutter is free from debris and plants. This one is currently something we need sorting ASAP. One of our gutters has a plant growing out of the top, causing an overflow of water trickling down the side of the house. The consequence? A damp wall on the inside. Not what you want during these winter months! Overflowing gutters over a long period can also cause damage to the pointing in the brickwork, so make sure all gutters are draining correctly this winter!
2. Install Draught-Proof Solutions
Draughts a big problem for heat loss and energy bills, however they're also super easy to rectify. Some solutions might just be as simple as purchasing a cushioned draught excluder to lay in-front of doors. One of the most-used solutions in our home is draught-ex (a hidden rubber seal) which fills the gaps in-between floorboards. I've done a whole post about different draught-proofing solutions previously, which you can read here for more tips and ideas. Simple solutions that make a huge difference.
3. Insulate Lofts
One of the biggest and best solutions for keeping the heat inside your home is to insulate your loft space. Your home may already have some form of insulation - but it may not be as great as newer insulation sold nowadays. Older insulation can sometimes be quite thin and far less efficient than it should be. Newer insulation products, such as this insulation from Ashbrook Roofing is more energy efficient, made from renewable materials and has a far greater thermal performance. By laying new insulation over the top of the old, you'll create a greater barrier to keep that warm air from escaping and in turn will reduce your bills whilst giving you a warm and cosier home. If you don't have insulation at all, this is probably the top priority for making your home more efficient!
4. Have Your Boiler Serviced / Chimney Swept
Every year you should be having your boiler serviced and/or chimney swept. Not only does servicing your boiler ensure it will last longer and keep it performing efficiently, but it will also prevent serious problems, such as producing carbon monoxide. Not a risk I would personally want to take! If you have a log burner or other fire in your chimney breast, it's also a good idea to get your chimney swept once a year too. A build up of soot inside the chimney can lead to chimney fires and you really don't want that either! Since both these get maximum usage in winter, it's best to get them swept and serviced before they're in use full-time.
5. Insulate Water Pipes
Non-Insulated water pipes can be prone to freezing during very cold climates, particularly if your pipes run through an uninsulated cold void. Frozen water pipes are more prone to bursting as well, and having a water damaged home isn't want anyone wants this Christmas, I'm sure. Take action early before the frost sets in and make sure your pipes are insulated. It's super easy, quick, simple and cheap to do. So why wouldn't you?
6. Install External Security Lights
This one is particularly good if you're planning on going away during the winter months as house crimes tend to be more common during the winter months when it's dark for longer. A good security light actually helps to deter burglars and other house crimes, keeping your home safer this winter. You can get pretty good solar powered security lights nowadays that even work in winter, so no need for costly electrical work. This solar security light from Lights4Fun is currently on my to-buy list. Security lights are also a good idea for pets and kids as well.
7. Stock Up on Salt
What am I talking about? No, I don't mean for your Christmas dinner, but for your paths and driveway. Salt is the greatest solution to removing snow during the winter period! Sprinkle some onto your paths and driveway and it causes the snow to dissolve at rapid speeds. It will also prevent black ice from forming as well. Put the shovel away and opt for this much easier solution, but make sure to stock up early, because once the snow hits, you'll more than likely discover supermarkets are already out of stock. Added tip - Dishwasher salts also work the same way.
Did I miss anything? How do you prepare your home for winter?
*Collaborative Post. All opinions are my own!