5 Ways to Winter-Proof Your Home

The clocks have gone back, and as we move closer towards the end of the year, scientists have already warned that this year may be the coldest UK winter yet – according to The Independent. Winter is certainly on the horizon, but before you start playing those Christmas songs and decorating your tree, it’s so important to start prepping your home for the cold too…yes, even as early as now. We all know how harsh the snowfall can be, and whilst adding a thick blanket or two may keep you nice and cosy in bed, you’ll want to be making sure you have adequate solutions ready for your entire household. With that said, here are five ways, or a checklist so to speak, to winter-proof your home:

Consider getting a composite door

Unfortunately, front doors are common casualties during long winters as the sub-zero temperatures can cause them to weather quite badly. Wooden doors in particular, tend to expand and contract in the winter compared to other materials, where as composite doors are designed with insulating foam cores, making them naturally resistant to the cold. Companies like Elitis offer composite doors that guarantee weather-proofing, increased energy efficiency, and security over standard wooden doors. Plus, they will add a contemporary aesthetic to your home.

Protect your pipes

Speaking of expanding and contracting doors, the same can happen to your pipes too. If the water inside your pipes freezes, it will expand which can cause them to crack. Pipes can also burst when pressure builds up behind a chunk of ice. The most you can do is to drain your water from faucets and sprinklers to prevent pipes from freezing. Alternatively, you can also keep them open so the water flows continuously through them.

Make sure your boilers are properly maintained

According to an article on House Beautiful, heaters and radiators break down three times as often after the summer months, and this is mostly due to long periods of inactivity. You certainly don’t want them to stop working when winter comes, so it’s crucial to keep your heating system in best shape possible at all times. Check now if there’s anything that needs fixing, whether it’s a radiator that needs bleeding or a water tank that needs replacing. Heating specialists HomeServe suggest getting your boiler checked at least once a year by a certified engineer, preferably during autumn time (so now!). Remember, the cost of a yearly visit from an engineer pales in comparison to how much you will have to fork out if you don’t maintain your boiler properly. So be vigilant and ensure your boiler is equipped to make it through winter, otherwise it could cost you dearly.

Close off unused chimneys

An open chimney will act as the gateway for heat to leave your home, which is certainly not ideal during the winter. So it’s important to remember to close it when you’re not using your fireplace. However, some dampers don’t seal well when they’re closed. If you have the resources, Homebuilding & Renovating recommends blocking your chimney with a fireplace insert insulation to cut down on the air loss. Just don’t forget to take it out if you decide to use it again!

Clean your gutters

Winter-proofing of course isn’t limited to keeping your house warm. It also entails protecting the outside from the harsh consequences of too much snow. As soon as autumn comes to an end, it’s time to clean those gutters. As the debris of fallen leaves etc piles up, it can block your pathways, which then prevents water from moving through your gutters. When that happens, it is probably time to call someone like the Gutter Cleaning Queens who can easily save you the chore (and valuable time) of climbing up ladders and facing the odious task of cleaning rotting debris from gutters (because who wants to be doing that in the winter?). Not acting quickly, can lead to water damage to your home, as the water will run down through the exterior of your walls instead of through the gutter, leading them to deteriorate. It can even infiltrate your cellar and settle under your porch, causing more damage than you started with! So don’t forget those gutters! 

Winter marks the end of the year and the start of a potential headache for home repairs, so save yourself the trouble and winter-proof your house before the season starts – you’ll thank yourself later for being so prepared, and you can start 2020 off on the right foot.

*Written in collaboration with Andrew Bailey

9 Comments

  1. October 30, 2019 / 7:55 am

    We just moved house and a the windows cleaned and guttering cleared out – it was gross! The boiler is also needing a service- that’s on my “to do’ list for today.
    Thanks for the reminders!

  2. June 10, 2020 / 12:12 pm

    Make sure to check your roof and gutter. Add extra insulation.

  3. March 9, 2021 / 12:45 pm

    The part where you mentioned that water might infiltrate the house and settle under the porch reminded me of my grandma. She only lives by herself and it’s been a year since we visited her. It might be a good idea to see her next weekend just to check if her gutters are still clean and working well or if there’s a need for new installation service.

  4. May 1, 2021 / 11:12 pm

    Thanks! Many home remodeling projects require permits, even something as simple as building a deck. But you can, of course, get a permit yourself to do the remodel job in your house 🙂

  5. August 8, 2021 / 11:39 am

    Great post! By the way, water heaters run an average of three hours a day, but the difference in total operation time can range from one or two hours for new tankless heaters. They are more energy-efficient than a storage tank but provide only a limited flow of hot water per minute. Still, tankless water heater is a wiser choice than older options!

  6. February 25, 2022 / 10:07 am

    Thank you for sharing these tips! By the way, if you live in a private house and have an attic, you should also insulate it. Otherwise, it can become a source of heat loss in your home. But take the choice of insulation type seriously. The overall result depends on it. There are a couple of things to consider. It’s generally recommended for moderate climates to have the R-value ranging from R-38 to R-60. The type of insulation used will determine how many inches of insulation will be required. For example, blown fiberglass insulation should be around 17-22″, whereas a different material such as sprayed foam only needs between 6-14″.

  7. March 2, 2022 / 7:47 am

    Thank you for sharing such helpful content!

  8. March 7, 2022 / 8:02 am

    Good tips – thank you! I would also suggest considering replacing windows if the windows in your home are old enough and have cracks. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, consider caulking or weatherstripping instead. Use caulk to seal small gaps around the frame. For more significant gaps, try a can of foam spray.
    But remember that changing old and low-quality windows with new durable ones is always a great investment that will definitely pay off.

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