With the weather on the turn, it’s time to prepare for plummeting temperatures. Keeping warm at home in the winter months can be expensive as you crank up the heating, cook more hot meals, and have no way of leaving the clothes outside to drip-dry.
The cold can be unbearable if your home is poorly insulated, while the winter winds can play havoc with unwanted draughts. You may need a few changes to make your home a little toastier or a complete refurbishment to ensure it’s as energy-efficient as possible.
Whichever the case, here’s how to prepare your home for the winter:
Check Your Boiler and Have It Serviced Early
The cold weather will put pressure on your combi boiler, primarily if you’ve barely used it during the summer. If you rely on your combi boiler for hot water and constant heating at home, the last thing you want is for your system to pack in when winter hits.
To ensure your boiler doesn’t break down and leave you in the cold, check its efficiency and schedule servicing with an engineer registered by Gas Safe. Boilers need to be serviced at least once annually, preferably before the winter.
If it’s defective, it can massively increase your heating bills as it works harder to warm your home in the winter.
A service helps you determine if it’s running safely and efficiently while identifying issues you can remedy early to prevent costly problems down the line.
Draught Proof Your Home
Any tiny space or crack in the fabric of your home can let in cold air while letting hot air escape. It can include gaps in window panes and doors, cracks between floorboards, or gaps around the pipework of your external walls.
Making your home draught-proof is a continuous battle between draught prevention and allowing ventilation and people or pets to come and go as they please.
Window and door gaps are the first things to deal with when making your home more energy efficient. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy and cheap, and you’ll get immediate results. Different products are available for your windows and doors at DIY stores. These include:
- Dirt excluders or wiper seals – These are plastic or metal strips with wipers or brushes attached. They slightly compress when the window or door is closed to create a seal. They’re great on sliding windows, door bottoms, or anywhere with a warped surface or uneven gap.
- Compression strips – These are self-adhesive draught excluder tapes or strips that give in when compressed in narrow spaces. You can use them on windows or doors that close against a frame.
- Silicone sealants are suitable for windows that aren’t designed to open but are still a bit buggy.
You’ll also find products specific to different door parts, including brushes and flaps for letterboxes, metal discs for keyholes, and hinged flaps for the bottom of the door and floor.
Ensure you don’t fill every single gap to leave space for proper ventilation. Warm air holds a lot of moisture, and without good ventilation, you’ll be left with germ-ridden, stuffy, and polluted air in your home.
Insulate Your Home
Properly insulating your home will significantly impact your energy bills and efficiency. There are different ways you can improve your home’s insulation as you prepare your home for winter. These include:
- Loft and Roof Insulation
Hot air rises, and over a quarter of the heat in uninsulated homes is lost through the roof. One of the most cost-effective ways to retain your home’s heat and save on energy costs is to fill your loft space with insulation.
- Insulate the Cavity Wall
Insulating your cavity wall can save you up to £160 yearly in heating bills, and it’s an excellent way of retaining your home’s heat during the winter.
- Insulate the solid walls
Your solid walls will allow twice as much heat as cavity walls to escape. It’s bad for your bills and terrible for the environment.
Insulating your home can be pricey, so it’s worthwhile to find out if you’re eligible for any energy efficiency grant from the government. The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) also supports energy efficiency improvements, including heating, cavity, and wall insulation in low-income and vulnerable households.
Protect Your Pipes
Pipe bursts are a common problem during the winter, especially if the temperatures reach extreme levels. When you don’t protect your pipes, they can freeze up and burst, resulting in flooding and other damage to your house and its contents.
Frozen or damaged pipes can also compromise the efficiency of your heating system. You can protect your pipes from the cold weather by insulating them with a foam layer known as lagging.
You can find these at most DIY stores and wrap the pipes up yourself. If you’re around during the winter, ensure you set the heat to turn on for at least an hour daily to prevent the pipes from freezing. You can use a thermostat for this.
Update Your Thermostat
As EnergyGuide.org.uk makes clear thermostat communicates with your boiler. Updating to a smart thermostat allows you to monitor and control your heating system anywhere, anytime, through your smartphone or tablet.
Thermostats in older heating systems for older homes may have degraded over time, and they may be unhelpful, especially in the winter. It can cause delays in switching on your boiler or heat your home at much higher temperatures than necessary.
For improved accuracy even when you’re away, consider updating your thermostat to prevent energy wastage and save money!
Bleed Your Radiators and Fit a Floating Shelf Above them
Bleeding your radiators ensures they’re working at their full potential and that no air is trapped to compromise heating performance. It will improve heat efficiency and help you save on energy bills.
Installing a floating shelf above your radiator will also go a long way in controlling the flow of heat around the room. It will prevent heat from rising to the ceiling and escaping and instead deflect it around the room. You can find these in most home shops, and they come with the bonus of extra storage or curation space.
Preparing your home for winter doesn’t have to be an exhausting chore each year. Creating a checklist with items like those listed above on it will be a great way to ensure that you can quickly zip through the things that need to be done when the weather starts to turn. Keep warm this winter!