5 ways to prepare your home for winter

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Category: Home Sweet Home

Entering September has triggered a sudden drop in temperature. The summer of heatwaves is officially over, and the crisp autumnal weather has arrived. Now is the time to prepare your home for winter before it gets any colder or darker. It may still seem like a while away, but before you know it, you’ll be wrapping Christmas presents.

To keep your home warm and prevent any damage from the harsh weather, tick off every single one of these jobs on the list before the leaves fall off the trees.

1. Check for draughts

Accidental gaps and uncovered openings in the property cause draughts, which make it difficult to heat your home.

The easiest way to eliminate draughts is by sticking draught-proofing strips around window frames and the gaps around door edges. Heavy curtains can also minimise the amount of breeze entering your home.

Draught-proof front doors further by placing draught excluders on the letterbox and by the gap at the bottom of the door. Then fit a keyhole cover that slides to the left when a key is inserted.

Chimneys cause hot air to seep out of the home and cold air to travel in. If your fireplace isn’t in use, fit a chimney draught excluder inside the chimney or around the fireplace. Remember to remove this before lighting the fire or, you never use the fireplace, hire a professional to install a chimney cap.

Repair any minor cracks in internal walls with filler or cement to prevent air seeping through. If the damage is extensive, consult a professional in case of structural issues. 

2. Update boiler

Updating your boiler might seem daunting, but you shouldn’t put it off. If your boiler is nearing ten years old, it’s probably coming to the end of its lifecycle. Instead of waiting until it breaks in the depth of winter, do it now and keep your home snug.

Although you’ll have to pay an upfront cost to replace it, you could reduce your energy bills long term, as boilers become less efficient as they age. All newly installed boilers are condensing, which means they recover more heat before it’s lost. A replacement condensing boiler can reduce your energy bills further by £200 annually, making it a valuable investment.

But how do you even go about this? Instead of trying to figure it out on your own, the ‘find a boiler’ tool on BOXT will guide you on what type of boiler you need, how much it will cost, and arrange the entire installation process.

If you aren’t yet sure if it needs replacing, get your boiler serviced by a qualified engineer to check if it’s in working order.

3. Bleed radiators

Identify whether your radiators need bleeding by turning them on and checking for any cold spots, gurgling noises, or your boiler takes a long time to heat up.

If you’ve found any of the above, follow these steps to complete the job:

  • Turn the heating off and wait for the radiators to cool.
  • Place some towels underneath them to protect your floors.
  • Insert the radiator bleed key into the bleed valve.
  • Turn it anti-clockwise until you hear a hissing sound.
  • When the air has stopped seeping out, and water begins to drip, turn the key clockwise to close the valve.

Ensure you don’t open the valve fully as this will cause radiator water to pour out and be careful not to overtighten the valve when closing it.

After repeating the process on all radiators, check the boiler’s pressure to ensure you haven’t released too much water. If the needle gauge on the boiler is yellow, you’ll need to re-pressurise the heating system.   

4. Change energy providers

Staying with the same energy provider each year may be convenient, but you could be losing money. According to Money Supermarket, switching suppliers annually can save you a huge £250. Look for the cheapest deal now, before your heating usage surges and your lights are turned on for longer.

5. Prevent frozen pipes

Without taking the proper precautions, pipes can freeze during winter and burst, causing flooding. To avoid this, insulate the hot water pipes with lagging, especially pipes that run through cold areas of the home or outside.

Use a timer to keep your heating on throughout winter for at least an hour a day, even when you’re not home.

Just in case the pipes do freeze and burst, make sure you know where the stop cock is so you can turn the water off.

The bleak weather and short days of winter can be miserable but knowing you can get cosy at home makes it far more bearable. Make time to ensure your house is fully prepared, so you don’t have to worry about dealing with a property emergency in freezing weather conditions.