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Preparing your home for winter

Clearing the gutter.

As the cold sets in and woolly jumpers come out, preparing your home for winter suddenly becomes a top priority.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, 40% of us worry about keeping our homes warm during winter. The severity of winter weather can make it an expensive time of year for homeowners, especially with freezing pipes and battered exteriors.

Although you can't stop cold snaps and snow, you can take steps to get a winter-ready home. Not only will you stay warmer this winter, you'll save yourself money and time in the long run, reducing heating bills and lessening the chance of property damage.

From simple checks to savvy home improvements, our handy guide will show you how to prepare your home for winter, so read on.

Why is my house so cold in winter?

Winter is the coldest time of the year. In December 2019, the average UK temperature was 6°C. It's no surprise our homes feel cold during wintertime, but if your heating is chugging away and still barely makes a dent in the chill, you know you need to winter-proof your home.

How do I prepare my house for winter?

Big and small, there are so many ways to protect your home and trap heat during wintertime. Let’s get started.

Keep your boiler happy

Your first step is making sure your boiler is serviced, the radiators are bled, and everything is working as it should. Even if you're away, set the thermostat so your boiler runs for an hour a day at a minimum, lessening the chance of your system freezing up.

Insulate

Every winter, homes lose roughly a quarter of their heat via the roof, in addition to heat lost through the walls. Insulation is a clever solution and an easy home improvement that will save you money over time.

  • Depending on your home's size and type, if you install 270mm of roof insulation you can save up to £225 a year on energy bills.
  • Cavity wall insulation should pay for itself in five years at most, due to heating savings.
  • If you have solid walls, insulation can lop about £260 off your bills each year.

Insulating your home for winter can be expensive, but draught-proofing is an effective way to block out the cold without breaking the bank.

Here are some budget tips for staying snug:

  • Buy draught-proofing strips, sticking them around the edges of window frames and in gaps between the frame and window.
  • Winter-proof your door by fitting it with door and letterbox draught excluders.

Check out the chimney

If you have a chimney, it definitely needs to feature on any winter checklist for your home.

Ideally have it swept before the bad weather sets in. This helps protect the chimney masonry and decreases the chance of chimney fires. Buy a chimney draught excluder and have a cap fitted over the chimney pot, removing both when the chimney is in use.

Get lagging

Pipes are vulnerable to frosty winter conditions, so wrap them up warm. Lagging your pipes with foam insulation tubes helps minimise heat loss. This lessens the likelihood of the water inside freezing, which could lead to a burst pipe and water damage.

Double check where the stopcock is – it's usually under the kitchen sink. If you're unlucky enough to have a pipe burst, the stopcock enables you to shut off the water and prevent flooding.

Declutter your gutters and drains

Winter in the UK means lots of rain and soggy foliage, as trees shed their leaves. While it's not much fun, it's vital you clear your drains and gutters of debris such as mud and fallen leaves. A blockage could be disastrous, causing water to leak into your walls and roof.

Check your outside space

When you winter-proof your home, it's easy to get tunnel vision, only focusing on keeping the house warm. However, protecting your outdoor areas is also important.

Strong winds have the potential to shift rubbish bins, trampolines and outdoor furniture, damaging a neighbour's car or property, or your own. Make sure any outdoor items are either securely locked away or tied down.

Check your home's exterior for any cracks, getting them filled as soon as possible – wind and rain will only worsen matters, and likely raise the cost of repair work.

Avoid big building projects

Really keen to get that loft conversion done before spring? Undertaking any big renovations is a bad idea during the winter months.

Home improvement projects can be a great way to add value to your property – have a read of our home improvement guide. But it's tougher to protect your home from the elements during wintertime, which increases the risk of costly damage.

It's always worth getting in touch with your insurer before starting work, as certain types of home renovations or makeovers may impact your home insurance cover.

Can you paint your house in the winter?

Considering having some outside paintwork done during winter? The weather is likely to wreak havoc, as any painted surface needs dry conditions so it can dry properly.

Don't spend money on expensive paintwork only to have sleet and hail ruin it – wait until the spring comes around to update your home’s exterior.

The 'How do I winterize my home' checklist

  1. Check the roof for missing or loose tiles – a roof in tip-top condition is more winterproof.
  2. Mend broken fences and gates before the cold worsens damage.
  3. Make sure you have a working torch, blankets and portable heater, in case a power cut occurs.
  4. Make sure any plants or trees that could be vulnerable to strong winds are tied or cut back.
  5. Wipe away excess window condensation, as damp conditions mean damaged paintwork.
  6. Bleed radiators and check the boiler.
  7. Get draught excluders for doors and letter boxes.

Protect your property with home insurance

Preparing your home for winter saves you money and keeps you warmer. However, the coldest season of the year is known for unpredictable weather, so it's always wise to make sure your home has reliable cover.

Defaqto 5 Star rated, Hastings Direct offers quality, straightforward home insurance – get a quote today.

Home insurance

At Hastings Direct, we know how important your home and its contents are to you. That's why we offer home insurance that covers you for the unexpected expense that theft, loss and damage can bring. Plus you can choose from a great range of optional extras.

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