When we’re snuggling up inside our homes on a cold winter’s day, it’s easy to forget about the wind, rain and snow that’s wreaking havoc outside. It’s worth remembering that how warm and cosy our houses are all depends on how well we care for them. Every year, we get asked the same questions about preparing properties to weather the winter storm and we’ve built up quite the catalogue of seasonal home care tips.
Keep drains and gutters clear
It’s not a glamorous job, but someone has to do it! Make sure your drains and gutters are clear of leaves and debris to prevent leaks and flooding in the likely event of heavy rain.
Turn the heating on
This is important, even if the property is empty. Make sure the heating is set to turn on every so often at a low temperature to make sure you don’t have to deal with frozen or bursting pipes.
Check the pipes
Those aforementioned frozen or burst pipes truly are a nightmare, especially close to Christmas, so be sure to keep them in check. You might want to cover any exterior pipes with a foam insulating cover to ensure that no nasty cracks and leaks appear.
Get the boiler serviced
We can’t think of anything worse than waking up on a cold morning to a freezing house and no hot water. As an added bonus, a warm and welcoming home makes all the difference to viewings if you’re selling.
Keep an eye on your meter readings
To ensure you are not paying too much for your heating supply, regularly check you are getting the best rate. You can achieve this by using an online comparison site or a switch service provider. Just keep a note of your monthly expenditure and always ensure your meter readings are up-to-date.
Look out for hibernating animals
Check lofts and sheds, in particular, for any sleeping animals and make sure you rehouse them with the RSPCA if necessary to give them a warm, safe place to spend the winter. What’s more, you will want to ensure that your home is free from any pests that might cause damage.
Make sure your electrics are fit for purpose
As the evenings draw in, you’re going to need more light. Make sure that all door and exterior lights are working to keep your home safe. If you’re selling, we’d recommend you consider showcasing your home in the darker evenings with some additional external lighting.
Don’t forget home insurance
It’s really important to make sure this is up-to-date and covers everything in your home, including new purchases that might have been forgotten. With winter weather increasing the risk of leaks and damage, check that your policy includes accidental damage cover (in case of any nasty surprises).
Are you insulated?
Insulation can keep you toasty, as well as saving those all-important pennies. Old houses, in particular, lose heat through windows, cavity walls and the roof, so adding in some extra insulation is a good idea.
Are your windows letting warm air out and cold air in? Something as simple as fitting a draft excluder or patching up any weak spots could save you a lot of trouble, and money, in the long run.
Bleed the radiators
Make sure they’re working efficiently, saving you money and keeping you snug.
Keep the garden in check
If you thought summer was the time to be gardening, think again. With winter storms on the way, you’ll want to trim back trees and bushes to prevent window breaks and roof damage, as well as to make the gutters that much easier to keep clear. If you’re particularly green-fingered, you may also want to cover or bring in fragile plants in case of frost.
Sweep the chimney
We love a roaring fire to keep warm during the chilly weather. But chimney fires are a real risk; one that’s not so cosy. Make sure you have an annual chimney inspection prior to lighting the first season’s fire to see if it needs a sweep of any nests, small animals and debris that could cause problems.
Find a new boxset
Ok, this one’s not entirely for the house, but it will make long nights in that much better! Cosy nights and duvet days are just the best when the weather outside is frightful.