Let’s face it, making sure your home is ready for winter is no fun when it’s already 2 degrees outside and the rain has turned to sleet. Autumn is the best time to work through your winter home preparation checklist and make sure your house is ready to face whatever winter throws at it. Here’s what we think you need to be doing now to get ready….
Check your Central Heating
Your central heating is probably the most important element for your home during the winter and therefore should be first on your winter home preparation checklist. Unless you’re wearing all 11 of the jumpers you own at once to keep yourself toasty on a cold December evening, it’s essential to give your heating system a test run (no later than the end of October) to check everything is in working order before the icy months set in. If you have an on/off button, make sure this is on and then turn your thermostat right up. You should hear your boiler fire up and after a few minutes the radiators should start to heat up. Once you feel they’re on, you can turn the heating down to a regular temperature for 20-30 minutes just to ensure this stays on for the duration.
Inspect your Wood-burning Fireplace or Chimney
If you’re lucky enough to have a wood burning fireplace, you’ve most likely not thought about it for the past 8 months. Well now’s the time to give it some T.L.C to ensure it’s ready for winter. Firstly, make sure it’s free of any birds or squirrel nests. Next you want to check the draft and ventilation is in working order, so open the draft and light a few balls of rolled up newspaper. The smoke should rise straight up the chimney. If it doesn’t this means there is usually some kind of obstruction. We recommend calling in a professional chimney sweep as these are usually inexpensive and cleaning it yourself isn’t particularly pleasant.
Protect your Pipes
Burst water pipes caused by freezing can be one of the most expensive home repairs. So, if you have any exposed water pipes in areas that are uninsulated e.g. exterior walls or the attic, ensure you wrap these in electrical heating tape, followed by insulating foam to prevent them freezing when temperatures drop.
Seal doors and windows
Cold air from outside can easily seep into your home if windows and doors aren’t sealed properly, consequently increasing your heating bill. Inspect your windows and doors from the exterior, checking for any damaged or missing caulking and re-sealing where needed. This should help keep your home cosy and cut down your heating bill.
Don’t forget your bits and bobs outside! Be sure to clean and cover any patio furniture, as well as BBQ equipment. This way it will be ready to go once you see the first glimmer of sunshine in Spring. Drain any petrol from your lawn mower (or just let it run flat) and store this away too. We also advise that you drain any water fountains, unplugging the pumps in preparation.