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.

Nesting: How To Make Your Home Cosy For Winter

Warming up

When the weather turns cold, who doesn’t get that nesting feeling? We all want to huddle up in a warm home, after a long day at work – with a generous glass of wine – and look forward to Christmas. Here’s how to make sure that you get a head-start on making your house feel like a home, this festive season.

Make Your Own Draught Excluder

You don’t even need to be able to use a sewing machine to make your very own draught excluder at home. It’s incredibly simple, and it means that you can select whichever design you like best, based on which fabric is at the haberdashery. Take a look here for the full instructions. A draught excluder not only makes your home look cosier, but it also actively keeps the warmth in, and reduces bill costs.

Cover Exposed Floors With Rugs

Even if you like how your exposed floors look, they are cold to the touch, and will make a room seem less welcoming. A few rugs here and there can still show off your flooring, while keeping your feet toasty.

FIRE

If you have a fireplace, make the most of it. Otherwise, set up a number of candles around your home, to provide soft light and a warm, soothing ambience.

Line Your Curtains

Not only does lining your curtains make them appear thicker and plusher, but it also helps to keep the heat in. If you struggle with the temperature around your home, doubling up on fabric really helps.

Good Smells

Your home should be a positive, sensory experience. Good smells are a part of this picture. This includes warming scents, such as cinnamon candles, but it can also be regular baking within the home, filling the house with the smell of fresh bread.

Blankets, Throws, And Pillows

Make your home more inviting, by creating a nest for your family and guests. Lay out pillows and throws, so everyone can snuggle up on the sofas or chairs. Throws and pillows can also add different textures to a room, generally increasing how cosy it appears.

Crafts

Invest in a range of knitting needles or crochet hooks, and a bag full of yarn; it’s time to get crafty! With a little practice, you will soon be making anything from scarves to blankets, to tea cosies. It’s really therapeutic, and you can make simple patterns, while watching the TV.

Pimp Your Bath

Your bath is a winter haven. Make sure that it’s decked out with a range of decadent products. Hang up fluffy towels on towel warmers and treat yourself to some post-dip creams too, to soothe dry, winter skin. Always make sure that your bathroom is heated, as a priority. Other rooms are not as important, except maybe the main living space! No-one wants to get their kit off in a freezing room.

How do you like to make your home feel cosier over the festive period? Let us know in the comments below.

Autumn Work: How To Prepare Your Garden For Winter

Young woman raking leaves autumn pile garden veranda housework sweeping

Now that we are slowly moving into autumn (just one month to go!), it’s time to start letting go of the beautiful flowers in your garden, and prepare for the spring. As a gardener, you’re always planning ahead. The preparation that you do now will mean that you can reap the rewards next year. Before you know it, winter will be over, and gorgeous flowers will be blooming. There are plenty of fun and interesting things to do, in this winding down period, which should keep you motivated, while the garden starts to look a bit bare. Here’s how to prepare your garden, ready for the big chill.

Look After Wildlife

When a lot of colour and life has left your garden, you can encourage it back in again with a number of tricks. Birds are always a lovely sight, and they will need your support during the colder months. Where you can, set up feeders throughout your garden. You can make your own (it might be something nice to do with the kids) or you can buy what you need from most garden-related stores. You will be able to see a number of UK birds flitting around your garden, while you relax next to the window, with a nice cup of tea.

Looking Ahead To Spring

In autumn, start planting spring bulbs, while the ground is still warm enough. In September, look to plant your Daffodils, Snowdrops, Bluebells, Tulips, and Anemones, for some colour when the weather gets warmer. When spring comes around, you will have a cheery array of flowers, after the dark winter season. Planning ahead can also be quite fun, so get those bulbs in the ground!

Winter Evergreens

If you still want your garden to have some pizazz during the Christmas season, make sure to get rid of any fading summer flowers that won’t blossom next year, and replace them with evergreens. Many evergreens even flower, so look for some that will add colour to your borders. They really can add some joy to the festive season. For some evergreen suggestions, check out this article from The Royal Horticultural Society.

Try Leaf Mould

If your garden is bombarded with autumn leaves every year, rake them up and try to make some leaf mould. This will be really beneficial for your plants, and leaf mould is a joy to work with. It couldn’t be simpler to do either: using a bin liner, fill to the top with leaves (and pour in water, if the leaves are dry), tie off the top of the bag, and pierce down the sides and the bottom. Store somewhere protected, and your leaf mould should be ready to use the following autumn. You can shred up the leaves in advance, to help the decomposition process.

What is your favourite part of gardening during the autumn months? What are you looking forward to in the spring? Let us know!