We could tell you that ‘Winter is coming’ but, much like the Starks, nobody’s surprised by that anymore. It happens every year! And yet many homeowners are caught out with expensive emergency repairs to their plumbing or sky-high heating bills.
These winter-proofing tips for homeowners will help to prevent winter disasters in your home. Put them on your To-Do list now – before the worst of the cold weather hits!
Book a boiler service
A freezing shower and no heating is miserable for everyone. Boilers need servicing every year to keep them safe – but it’s also an opportunity to spot potential issues before it breaks down completely.
Book a Gas Safe qualified engineer to check over your boiler. If there are any signs of potential issues, get them fixed now. It’s much less expensive – and less distressing – to repair your boiler before it completely breaks down in the middle of a snowstorm!
Protect your pipes from freezing temperatures
The water in pipes is prone to freezing over in sub-zero temperatures – especially in basements, garages, and any pipes on your home’s exterior.
Frozen pipes increase the risk of cracks and damage that you may not notice until the weather warms up again. Water in the pipes expands as it freezes, stressing the pipe and joints. In older properties, this can even happen to interior pipes such as for radiators – and a cracked radiator pipe can lead to floods!
Protect your pipes with lagging. The foam or rock wool insulation helps to protect pipes from low temperatures. It’s easy to cut to size and install – anyone can do it!
Clear your gutters and drains
As the rain and snow become a regular feature of daily life, your gutters take a lot of the strain.
Gutters and drains blocked with leaves and debris can’t drain rainfall or snowmelt away from your home easily. Make sure you clear all of your gutters and check drains for blockages to prevent flooding around your home or even roof leaks caused by overflowing gutters.
Inspect your roof for leaks or damage
A roof inspection helps you to spot potential issues before they become budget-busting problems.
Small leaks, pooling water on a flat roof, and damp eaves in the attic are all signs you’ve got a problem. If you can see daylight in your attic, too, this is a sign you need to fix the hole before the winter weather.
Roof repairs are hard to complete in winter as high winds and heavy rain prevent roofers from working safely on scaffolding – so make sure you have any repairs completed before the depths of winter hit.
Add energy-efficient insulation
If you notice your attic doesn’t have much insulation while you’re up inspecting the roof, now’s the time to install some more. Thick rock wool insulation is an inexpensive way to prevent heat from escaping during winter months, which will also reduce your heating bills.
You can also add a clear insulating film to single-glazed windows to reduce the amount of heat that escapes; some of these films also reflect heat away from the home in summer, too.
Keep drafts at bay – and your heating bills low – with thermal-lined curtains and draft excluders under doors. Check your windows and doors for cracks that need sealing, too – these are a common culprit of chilly drafts in winter.
Hire a chimney sweep for open fires
Properties with chimneys and open fires are the epitome of a romantic cosy winter scene – if they’re clean, that is.
A chimney that hasn’t been cleaned in a while is a fire hazard and a carbon monoxide risk. Build-up in the chimney – and bird nests – can cause fires inside and behind the walls. These are incredibly damaging – and costly – and your insurance policy may not be valid if you haven’t had a professional clean your chimney recently.
Ask your local chimney sweep to clear all of your chimneys of soot, debris, and bird nests before you set your first fire of the season. Only burn appropriate fuel, too: paper and cardboard might get your fire going quickly, but the debris sticks further up the chimney. This can later catch alight and cause serious damage!
Secure your home if you're taking a winter holiday
If you’re going on holiday for Christmas, take steps to lock up and secure your home.
Without taking simple precautions your insurance policy may be invalid. Should anything happen to your property while you’re away, you could be left paying a huge repair bill on top of your mortgage repayments!
Easy steps include:
- Protect your pipes from freezing by keeping the heating running on low
- Ask a neighbour to pop over and open or close the curtains to deter burglars
- Install a timer on a light switch to make it appear as if somebody is home
- Suspend all deliveries and subscriptions while you’re away.
If you follow all of these tips, your home should be a cosy haven throughout the winter – without the risk of last-minute flooding or ice-related emergencies!