6 Things You Need to Do for Your Home Each Winter

Woman is sitting with cup of hot drink and book near the fireplace

In the words of the Stark house, winter is coming. We can feel it already – the nights are drawing in ever sooner, the weather is getting wetter and more miserable, and it’s definitely rather cooler than it was just a few short weeks ago.

Just as you need to ensure that your wardrobe and your immune system are ready for the winter months, it is equally important to make sure that your home is well prepared for this cold and grey time of the year.

To help keep you and your home both safe and warm, we have put together some wintery household tips for you. Make sure you do these every year and you’ll see the winter through in comfort.

1. Get a Winter Check-up

While autumn is still around, you should ensure to phone up your gas and electric providers and get them to send someone out for a winter check-up. Get your boiler tested for its efficiency and given a boost if possible, and if applicable get any air vents and air conditioner units cleaned up.

2. Have Your Chimney Swept

Obviously, this tip won’t be of much use to you if you’ve not got a chimney, but if you have – you’re in luck! If it’s been a while since you last had your chimney cleaned, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so get it done this year. This will ensure it’s properly drawing up the smoke. You don’t want it clogging up the living room.

3. Tend to Your Gardens

Got any dead or dying trees on your property or any branches hanging over your roof? Then you’ll want to sort them out. When the temperatures start to dip below freezing, they can start posing real problems.

4. Start an Emergency Kit

It might be worthwhile to put together a small emergency kit, just in case the power goes out while the temperatures are sub-zero. Of course this is only applicable for worst case scenarios, but as always it is better to be safe than sorry, especially when it’s chilly. Grab things like non-perishables, blankets, torches (with spare batteries), and some bottled water, and squirrel them away in a safe place.

5. Cover the Patio Furniture

There’s not really much to elaborate on here: your patio furniture has to be covered or put away, unless you want it to succumb to the cold and the wet.

6. Check Your Roof

Either check your roof yourself or hire a professional to do it for you if you’re uncomfortable with heights. Check for any loose or broken tiles or shingles – heat can escape through the gaps here. Also ensure that your gutters and downspouts are free of leaves and debris; wet leaves can become very heavy very quickly, and they pose a real risk of damage when the temperature drops. Because of the water, they expand upon freezing, so you can say goodbye to your pipes.

4 Ways to Prepare Your Home for the Winter

Loft Christmas room

Now that autumn is rolling in with force, the nights are getting ever longer and the temperatures are quickly dropping up and down the country, it is clear that winter is just around the corner. You need to make sure your home is prepared for the colder months.

This will help you to cut down on your expenses, particularly with your utility bills, so you really should at least try to make one or two adjustments. It will pay off in the long run!

Give Your Boiler a Tune-up

Although this will probably put you out of pocket to begin with, it’s never massively expensive, and it will definitely be preferable to having a boiler breakdown in the dead of winter when all the technicians have a massive backlog of heaters to repair.

Get in there while it’s not so busy and get your boiler looked at. The technician will give it a good going over, making sure it is clean and in good health, then tuning it up so you can get the maximum levels of efficiency and thus save a little money in running costs.

Check out Your Roof

Have a quick gander around your roof while it’s still light, checking for any tiles or shingles that are missing or damaged and might end up leaking ice cold water into your home as the snow settles and melts.

If you need some repairs, it will be more cost efficient in the long run to get a roofer out to do the work. Leaving it will only end up causing a much greater deal of damage. While you’re at it, make sure you clear out the gutters so that they don’t get blocked up.

Get Insulating

Insulation is your friend during those long, cold months. The main way to protect yourself from ice dams is by ensuring there is plenty of insulation up in the attic – if too much heat is escaping through the attic, it can melt the snow on the roof. If this then refreezes, you can be in big trouble, so make sure you’ve got enough insulation.

You can also help cut down your winter energy bills by caulking your windows and adding weather stripping to your doors; these will help to prevent heat getting out and draughts getting in.

Be Prepared for the Worst

Although it is fairly unlikely – at least, depending upon where you live – that you will experience any “real” winter emergency at home this year, it really will stand you in good stead to be prepared for any eventuality.

Familiarise yourself with the location of your pipes and learn how to shut off your water in case of a freeze or a leak, trim any dead branches from the trees so that they can’t do any damage if they freeze and fall, and make sure to stock up on salt or grit well ahead of schedule.

How to Winter-Proof Your Home

snowflake at wood background

Autumn has well and truly set in – the nights are creeping in earlier and earlier with every day that goes by, and coats are becoming more and more an everyday necessity. Sadly, it seems as though the summer isn’t coming back for a quick encore, even though it only lasted for about a week or so.

However, we can’t wallow for ever. At some point, we have to accept that winter is coming, and we have to be prepared. Winter-proofing your home is a great place to start, as it will keep you and your loved ones toasty and warm whilst also saving you a bit of money in the long run. What’s not to love?

Here are our tips. It’s all you need to make a good start on protecting your home throughout those chilly winter months!

Protect Your Patio

Winter is cold and wet – any aluminium patio furniture is at risk of rusting. Bring in the furniture if you can, but if not, you should at least cover it with some tarp. This should help keep it pristine.

While you’re at it, if you have a garden hose lying around outside, drain it and keep it somewhere warm until the spring. If you don’t, the water will freeze inside it, ultimately causing holes to appear.

Use a Thermostat

If you don’t have a programmable thermostat already, we’d recommend investing in one. They’re not overly expensive, and the investment will pay for itself over time.

Fiddle about with the settings to find something that works for you, but we’d recommend turning it down by 5 degrees or so while you’re at work, and making sure the warmer temperature kicks in about an hour before you’re due to get home.

Remember as well, if you go away for a while in winter, your pipes are at risk of bursting if they get too cold. A programmable thermostat will help you avoid that pitfall.

Replace Your Doors and Windows

This step is a bit more expensive in the short-term, but as a longer-term investment it will definitely pay off. A full-glass storm door will do the job when it comes to preventing drafts, but these can be costly.

When it comes to windows, get them double-glazed if you haven’t already. Triple-glazing is also an option, but the gains aren’t quite as noticeable. You can also look into low-E treated glass – these save energy too, but with the added benefit of cutting UV rays.

Insulation Is Key

Insulation is sort of the be all and end all of money-saving home improvements. Not only does it trap heat and keep out the cold, but it also helps to cut down on outside noise and reduces drafts. It’s definitely worth looking into.

Get it installed in the roof or attic, as well as in the basement if you have one. Foam insulation is by far the best option, though it is of course slightly more expensive than fiberglass. Get an expert round if you’re not sure whether you’re insulated already.

Jobs For Your Home And Garden, During The Autumn Season

Fall Bulbs

To make sure that you’re prepared for the long, dark winter ahead, it’s crucial that you use your early autumn time wisely. With Christmas slowly looming on the horizon, if you get all of your preparation done now, you will be ready to fully enjoy the festive season. Let’s take a look at your guide for getting your home ready for colder weather, during autumn.

Home

Check The External Building

Have a walk around your property, paying particular notice to whether there are any broken or loose tiles on your roof, or if your gutters are clogged up with autumn leaves. You really want your pipes free of leaf mulch, before the hard winter hits, so when you think the trees aren’t going to litter anymore, hire a professional to clean your gutters, or do it yourself.

Winterproof Your Home

To avoid extortionate heating bills, you’ll want to pad out your home, so the warmth doesn’t escape. Checking that the doors are draught-proof is a good place to start. You may need to fit, or make, draught excluders, in order to stop that freezing winter air from creeping under the door. If you have the time and patience, bleed the radiators, and – if you can afford it – get your boiler serviced.

Learn Some New Slow Cooking Recipes

Winter and autumn is the time for wholesome home cooking, so start studying your one-pot and slow cooker recipes. The cold weather is a great excuse to improve your baking skills, so you can have delicious, hearty meals to warm your home, and your cockles.

Garden

Plant Bulbs For Spring

A gardener’s job is never done. At the moment, you should be looking and planning for the new year. When spring comes around, you could have a garden full of daffodils, snowdrops, bluebells, and any other early flower that you like best. However, to ensure that you have a lovely burst of colour in 2016, you need to place the bulbs in the ground now. You could also sow some winter-hardy lettuce or spinach, to keep your pantry full in the colder months.

Rake The Lawn

To stop your lawn from browning, you will need to rake the leaves in the garden. This is just so the grass is exposed to the sun once more, but it is a good idea to leave some of the debris to mulch down, into the soil, as it will keep your lawn healthier – try not to take all of the nutrients away.

Harvest Your Gourds And Pumpkins

If you had the forethought to plant gourds and pumpkins in your garden in late spring and early summer, it’s now time to harvest them! This is perfect for feel-good food, such as stews and soups, which will give you the nutritional kick that you need, in the middle of the cold months. Air out your slow cooker and get through your ripe harvest. If you have too many, you can always carve them up for Halloween, or give them to friends, as a gift.