As winter is in full bloom, the cold weather will most likely get worse over the next couple of months. Here we offer some tips on how to keep your home and family nice and cosy this winter.
Take a look at your heating system before the cold weather approaches
It may seem an obvious thing to do, but it’s surprising how many people actually forget to do it! Check your heating system before the cold comes to ensure that all is working as it should be. Turn on the heat and see if it’s operating normally.
Thermostats and reducing costs
A thermostat is ideal because it helps to regulate temperature and keep energy costs down. Most homes should be programmed to be warm in the day and cooler at night, and a thermostat can be set to offer a boost of warmth when you need it the most, like first thing in the morning. If you don’t have a thermostat, it may be worth installing one now.
Don’t forget about pipes
Frozen water expands and can play havoc with pipes; if water expands excessively, it can lead to broken, cracked, or burst pipes. The untold damage it causes is stressful; it can be highly costly to fix and leave homeowners without water for a while. This is something we all must try and avoid, and it’s easily avoided by looking around the home, basement, garage, and outside to insulate vulnerable pipework susceptible to ice damage.
Beware of Ice Dams
For those who don’t know what they are, they are a build-up of ice which settles into the eaves of roofing. It’s caused by heat, which rises from the home and escapes through the roof; it can melt the snow, causing it to run down and settle into eaves and freezing. Once these frozen dams start to thaw, they have no adequate way to drain and homes are at risk of water leaks through the roof. There are ways to try to prevent this from happening, and it’s fairly simple; make sure gutters and downpipes are free from debris. Also, try to seal any area around the home and attic that could allow for heat to escape through the roof, look at the chimneys, fans, hatches to attics, light fittings, and vents.
Chimneys and Flues
Before winter hits hard, it’s recommended that chimneys and flues are inspected and cleaned by a professional. Removing debris and a build-up of soot helps prevent hazards such as fires, and when a fire is not in use, the flue should be closed so that warm air doesn’t escape, and cold air can’t creep in. Glass doors or inflatable blocks are ideal for blocking the cold from seeping into the home from the chimney.
Check Windows and Door for drafts
It’s amazing how much heat is lost due to gaps around insufficiently sealed windows and doors. Window caulk and weather stripping helps to seal drafty gaps, and it’s inexpensive yet highly effective. Single glazed panels may need updating to double or triple glazing when homeowners are able to afford to do so, and Garage doors should be insulated as lots of warmth escapes there.
Consider seasonal self-storage
Most families spend more time indoors during winter, and with festivities such as Christmas, they may also need to make room for visiting family members and friends. Self-storage during winter helps to free homes of clutter, so any items you may have that are not used during winter, you may want to pop in temporary storage to make some space at home.
Start stocking up on essential winter warmers
An emergency kit during winter is never a bad thing; as those winter storms approach, it’s better to be prepared early on. Remember, homes are susceptible to power cuts, boiler breakdowns, being snowed in, you name it! And so a backup plan should always be readily available, hot water bottles, blow heaters, generators, torches, wood-burning stove, fire extinguisher, shovel, sand, salt, or something else to melt ice and plenty of warm blankets, garments and a supply of food and water. If the inevitable does happen, at least you can rest assured knowing that you have something that can help you get through the situation temporarily.
Whatever happens this winter, I hope that you are all safe and warm and try to look out for those who are less able.