How to prepare your home for winter
With winters seeming to get longer and colder, and heating bills getting higher, now is a good time to prepare your home for the oncoming cold weather. Here are a few simple tips that will really make a difference in how warm your home is this winter.
1. Draught Proofing
This is definitely the most effective way to make sure your home stays warm this winter and it is really easy to do yourself. It’s best to start looking for draughts on a windy day as you should be able to physically feel the air whistling through the gaps. If you can’t seem to find them then you can always use a small tealight candle to help see the air movement (mind the curtains though if you do).
The most obvious places to start looking are anywhere where there is an opening through your external walls, windows and doors are the major offenders but you can also get draughts from around plumbing pipes, waste pipes from the toilet, extractor fans and even your TV aerial cable!
Another major culprit for draughts is from underneath your internal window sills, there is often a gap between the wall and the sill and it is definitely worth making sure these are filled in.
You will need to plug the gaps in these holes where the air is getting in and the easiest way to do this is with a tube of sealant or decorators caulk. If the gaps are really large you may need expanding foam or even some plastering, but it might be best to call in a handyman at this point.
2. Window and Door Seals
Windows and doors are the obvious places for draughts to enter a house and it is likely that will be air gaps between the frame and the wall, these can be filled with the sealant or caulk as mentioned previously.
There could also be air leaks coming in between the frame and the door or window itself, this is where it’s useful to check that the seals that keep the weather out are in good order, as these can perish over time.
Replacing them is usually quite a straightforward job with draught-proofing strips easily available from you local DIY Superstore - often called P profile draught excluder. If your front door is wood construction it will also be worth fitting a brush strip to the bottom of the door. It is also worth getting covers for letterboxes and keyholes although these don’t always look great.
3. Loft Hatch
The loft hatch is another prime target for air leaks, most of us have now insulated our lofts to some extent but it is all too common to leave the loft hatch uninsulated and leaky. The first thing to do is check that your loft hatch is insulated. Next, check that there are seals between the hatch frame and the hatch and if there are that they are in good condition. Finally, check that there are no air gaps between the hatch frame and the ceiling, once again these can be filled with sealant or caulk.
4. Get your boiler serviced
If you have a boiler that is more than 3 years old, you should really have it serviced once a year. This will help avoid the boiler breaking down just when you really need it in midwinter and it should also help keep it running at top efficiency, saving you money on your heating bills. Having made this mistake myself I can promise that a boiler replacement in December is no fun!
5. Bleed your radiators
This is another really simple process that can make a real difference to how warm your home feels, for more information on how to bleed your radiators see this our previous blog post on 'How to Bleed Your Radiators'.
One of the most hidden, and worst, offenders for cold draughts are unused fireplaces that suck out all the heat and can make rooms nearly impossible to heat properly. Luckily there is a really easy fix to this problem in the Chimney Pillow. It’s basically a balloon that you inflate up your chimney to block the draughts and if you do want to use the fire, you can easily deflate it and remove it should you want to rekindle the fire in the future.
Hopefully, these tips should help to make your home warmer this winter and you never know, it might even save you some money on your heating bills!