In the midst of winter, the temperature drops, and the cold weather snap makes itself at home – but don’t get caught short and left with a chilly house, expensive bills and frozen pipes. Whilst you’re pulling on your thick coat, scarf and gloves, remember your home also needs a bit of preparation for the winter months. To make life a little easier, we have put together 5 handy tips on how to better your home this season.
1. The Heating
Leaving your heating on throughout winter may sound expensive, but believe it or not if you keep your heating to a minimum of 14°C, you will not only help to nip those frozen pipes in the bud and prevent frost damage, but it’s also been proven to save those all-important pennies.
The amount of heat your home loses is linked to the temperature difference inside and outside - the colder it is outside or the warmer it is inside, the more heat you will lose. By maintaining your home at a constant yet lowered temperature, the level of heat loss reduces when you are out and prevents the need for your boiler to work harder when you get home, therefore cutting the cost of your energy bills. Your furry friends will also be thankful, as the winter months can be tough on your pets.
Programmable/smart thermostats are ideal to avoid additional energy wastage as you can ensure your rooms are kept at a consistent, low-ish temperature while you’re out and warm up the house in time for your return, allowing your boiler to run efficiently. Those who come home to a cold house are more likely to turn the thermostat higher than normal comfort, overheating the house.
Head over to the Energy Saving Trust's website to find out more information on how to be more energy efficient throughout the year.
It’s important to protect your pipes from the cold as this can prevent them from bursting which would be a nightmare during the coldest months of the year.
Insulating your pipes correctly using lagging (foam tubes) can save your hot water pipes from freezing – an inexpensive hack which you can easily pick up at your local DIY store and install in seconds.
Have a read of this simple to follow how-to guide for more info!
3. Smart Meters
Getting a smart meter can help you combat those expensive gas and electric bills this winter. They’ll show you how much energy you’re using in your home which will allow you to control and limit the devices that are costing you the most, or show if your money saving tactics like installing thicker curtains or turning off your appliances at the plug actually work.
Smart meters will begin to be offered for free by energy providers over the next couple of years, and not only will you never have to take a meter reading again, you’ll be able to see the real-time stats relating to your energy usage, enabling you to reap the financial benefits straight away.
Have a read of this article on Money Saving Expert, which goes into more detail.
Are your radiators heating to the top? Trapped air can prevent hot water circulating throughout your whole radiator which creates cold spots, usually at top. If this is the case, your radiator is not working to its full potential and it will take much longer to heat up your home up to the desired temperature.
Usually in these situations people turn up the temperature on the radiator, or even the whole central heating system to compensate, which wastes both energy and money because the boiler is having to burn more fuel and work harder to achieve a comfortable temperature.
Trapped air in the radiators can occur at any time of the year, but it’s more likely you will notice it during winter, when you are more reliant on your heating system. The process of bleeding the radiators however is quick and easy and can simply be done by a turn of a key!
If you need a bit of additional guidance, you can find out how to bleed a radiator here.
Gutters are an important part of your house. Without gutters, excess rainwater can pool and seep through to your home’s foundations, which can be particularly risky in winter as the water could freeze and crack your foundations, causing serious structural damage.
Gutters can often get clogged with fallen leaves or other debris and can prevent the water from clearly flowing through them. When winter arrives, the water will freeze and in turn create more water build up – and the cycle carries on, putting extra strain on the gutters causing them to sag or tear off completely.
If you notice an unusual amount of snow or ice build-up on your roof and gutter or icicles forming on the eaves of your home, it could be caused by these ice dams.
Gutter cleaning is not a glamourous task and can be quite challenging to do yourself, however there are many professional companies to make sure it’s done properly.