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, the water runs down through the exterior of your walls instead, 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