It’s September, and before you know it Christmas will be right around the corner… and then another year of dodging a waning pandemic may well lie ahead. Regardless of what 2022 may or may not bring, there is no doubt that the weather will decline and we’ll all be a little chillier than we’re feeling right now. With Ofgem (the UK’s energy industry regulator) about to increase tariffs to an unprecedented high, ensuring your home is ready to stay warm all winter is imperative so as not to experience skyrocketing bills and the need to still wear an extra layer around the house. The amount you could save in both financial and comfort terms could be astonishing – so read on for our easy top tips in preparing your property for colder climes.

Check Your Pipes, Protect Your Pipes

Research has found that over 70% of people don’t check their pipes before autumn or winter to confirm they are well-insulated and not likely to freeze or burst when the weather turns colder. Over a third of homeowners also don’t check their boiler – which in case of breakdown is a hefty financial and comfort risk to the home; and can leave you without hot water for an extended period of time, even if it is repaired or replaced quickly.

Only employ a Gas Safe registered contractor for a boiler service and aim to have it completed before summer ends, so that if there are any issues they can be resolved in plenty of time for the season’s change. Where pipes do run either externally or in cold ‘exposed’ areas such as garages, lofts or utility rooms, lagging and pipe protection can be fitted around them to keep the temperature up. This helps avoid the risk of freezing and unnecessary damage.

Secure Roof Tiles

Cracked, missing or loose tiles on your roof may not pose a problem in the summer but as the weather turns, their impact could be devastating. 

In strong winds, loose tiles can become dislodged and fall out completely, and in heavy rainfall, allow water into the home through any exposed gaps. The weight of snow can also further dislodge tiles and cause issues. Repairing roofing is always more difficult in inclement weather (how often do you see roofers working even in light rain?), so ensuring all is well ahead of time helps prevent further issues down the line.

Repair Chimney Damage

You’re probably not up on your roof looking at your chimney often, but calling in the pros once in a while to double check all is ok up there is well worth the investment.

As with roof tiles, high winds and rain can have a negative impact on chimneys and cracks and loose render around both the chimney pot and at the roof join can cause problems. Everything should be fixed and stable ahead of the worst of the weather to avoid later difficulties.

Somebody touching the heating thermostat

Keep Your Heating On… Even When You’re Out

Most of us only have central heating turned on through the colder months of the year, but if we’re going away for a few days, turn it straight off. However, this can be a false economy if you’re not at home for any period of time.

Setting the central heating to a minimum of 14⁰c when you’re not in the property helps prevent frozen pipes and frost damage by keeping water running through them at at least a lukewarm temperature. When turned off completely, pipes that run externally can freeze through and once the central heating is turned back on later, damage and crack, or even burst wide open.

Prep Your Windows For Rough Weather

Wooden window frames are extremely commonplace in British homes, especially in the Victorian terraces that line so many of our city streets. These frames, however good they may look, weren’t designed with the same considerations in mind that they would be today, and so they’re at risk of weather damage.

Untreated wood will swell and contract and rot, so all window frames and window-sills should be properly treated and protected wherever possible. Even if your wooden window frames are properly treated, you should give them all a quick inspection to identify any cracks to be filled and any areas that might need an extra lick of paint for another layer of protection.

Check The Electrics

Electricity faults are one of the most common causes of household insurance claims – and they’re not something that most homeowners can play around with by themselves.

Fuse boxes and general wiring should be checked at least once every few years by a registered electrician to ensure that all is well and nothing has become loose or poses a fresh risk to the home and those within it. Electricity often goes unconsidered in winter home checks, but these wires run externally through pipes out of the house… and the last thing you want is to lose lights or power when you’re trying to cook a Christmas dinner for 12 people!

A gutter cluttered with autumn leaves

Clear Out Gutters

Gutter cleaning is often thought of as an autumn job: scraping out and dumping the numerous brown, orange and amber leaves that fall and clog things up. If this is a job you usually do at the beginning of or mid-autumn, it’ll be almost a full year since you did it last – so why not take it on again now and help prolong your repeat performance?

Cleaning out gutters before autumn and winter arrive allow for the second cleaning of them to take place later and to negate the risk of blocks causing water pooling and collection that could later leak into the roof. 

Check Your Energy Tariff

The Ofgem price hike is set to happen on 1st October 2021, right in time for the colder weather to hit. If you haven’t already, speak with your energy provider and/or use a comparison website to be sure that you’re on the most appropriate and best value energy tariff for you or your home. Your bank balance will thank you for it!

Ensuring your home is ready to stay warm all winter can feel a daunting task, but it’s advisable to get ahead. Our Refresh Renovations specialists can help you assess your property and make recommendations on what may need doing ready for the colder months.

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Get ahead and make sure your home (and you!) are winter ready! For a free, no obligation consultation with your local Refresh Renovation Specialist; Get in touch today!

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