The days are getting shorter and cold weather is drawing in; winter is coming. Are you prepared?

Winter is one of the toughest times of the year for your home, with adverse conditions potentially leading to a range of costly and troublesome issues.

The good news is that with a bit of preparation and some relatively simple improvements, you can ward off the ill-effects of snow, rain and sub-zero temperatures and enjoy a warm and prosperous winter in your home.

Check your windows and doors

Windows and doors are the gateways through which most of the heat in your home will escape. Even if you heat your home 24 hours a day at full blast, a single-pane window or a draughty door will allow that heat to escape. Essentially, you’re throwing away money!

There are a couple of actions you can take to limit the escape of heat in your home. The easiest and cheapest is to install draught excluders at the bottom of every door in your home; you can pick up draught excluders for relatively cheap at most DIY stores and installing them is as simple screwing the excluder to the bottom of your door. You might need to measure and saw the excluder to size but again, this is quite easy.

Most new homes come with double-glazed windows, although older homes will feature single pane windows. If you have the budget, upgrade to double-glazing; the savings you’ll make will far outweigh the initial expense.

If you do have double-glazing but still feel a draught, invest in some foam excluder strips. Although they are cheap and won’t last as long as metal excluders, they are easy to install and easy enough to remove in the warm summer months.

It is necessary to retain some ventilation in your home, however, so don’t close up absolutely every connection to the outside world. Extractor fans and wall vents help to reduce the level of moisture in your home. Having your windows open for short periods of time (in the middle of the day at the weekend when it’s warmer outside, for example) can also help with reducing damp and mold.

Loft and wall insulation

Loft and wall insulation are essential for trapping heat that would otherwise escape from your home, although installing this kind of insulation is a lot more difficult and expensive. The best way to determine whether your home has loft and wall insulation to call an expert to conduct a survey of your home although there are a couple of other tell tale signs, such as small drill holes on the outer wall of your home.

The installation of loft and wall insulation is a job best left to a professional, although the costs of doing calling in an expert will be more than justified by the savings you make in the long run.

Check your gutters

A lot of people only think about the inside of their home when undertaking winter improvements, but the effects of winter on the outside of your home can lead to just as much adversity. One area that can be particularly troublesome is the gutters.

Gutters are susceptible to blockages from fallen leaves; these blockages lead to water becoming trapped and pooling. In sub-zero temperatures, this pooled water freezes and this can lead to the gutter cracking.

As such, it’s important to check that your gutters aren’t blocked on a regular basis. Installing a leaf guard is also a good idea, as it reduces the amount of time you have to spend cleaning!

Check your boiler and pipes

A broken boiler is one of the worst things that can happen in winter, leaving you without hot water and heating. The cost of repairing a boiler can also make a serious dent in your bank account!

The boiler checks you should carry out include:

* Making sure that your boiler servicing is up to date.

* Insulating the condensate pipe with lagging.

* Checking the pressure of your boiler.

You should also run your heating on a regular basis to ensure that the boiler’s pipework doesn’t freeze up and crack. If you’re unsure about the operation of your boiler, call in an expert to help.

Winter can be an arduous time for a homeowner, but as demonstrated in this post, preparing for winter doesn’t take too much time or cost too much money. Be prepared, and you should enjoy a trouble-free winter. 

Christopher Smith is writing on behalf of Excel Compressors, who sell a large range of used air compressors for DIY purposes

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