Fix leaks and draughts before the cold sets in to wrap up winter savings!
Who wants to think about winter when we continue to live in hope of some warm and sunny summer weather?
Yet thanks to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and spiralling energy prices, now is the perfect time to start preparing our homes for the cooler days ahead.
Teeing up a property before winter bites can make it more energy efficient and help cut household bills.
Let it bleed
Winterproof: Thanks to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and spiralling energy prices, now is the perfect time to start preparing our homes for the cooler days ahead
Test your radiators — switch them on then feel to gauge the temperature, checking there are no cold spots, that the thermostatic valves work and that there are no leaks.
‘Before the heating season, bleed the air from the radiator circuit and top up the pressure,’ says Michael Holmes, property expert for the Homebuilding & Renovating Show.
‘Ensure the corrosion inhibitor in the system is topped up at the same time to extend the boiler’s life. Each eight to ten years, the whole radiator system should be drained and flushed to remove rust and debris.’
And book an annual service with a Gas Safe registered engineer.
Cracked or missing roof tiles can lead to leaks and flooding, which in turn could invalidate your home insurance if poor upkeep leads to weather damage.
Get a professional to inspect the roof. And if you can see daylight coming through in your loft, it means rain can get in.
A common problem in the run up to winter is blocked gutters and downpipes. This can lead to overflows and damp in the structure of the building, says Lucian Quatermass, a partner at Deepdean Design. ‘Clearing gutters also gives you a good opportunity, when at roof level, to check the tiles and slates.’
Insulate your loft
Loft insulation is vital to stop heat escaping. ‘Remember that the recommended depth of loft insulation has increased in the past 30 years,’ says Lucian Quatermass. ‘It should be at least 270 mm, but this should be checked and added as necessary.’
If you already have insulation, check that it is in good shape.
‘The condition of the insulation is also important, it may have been poorly installed, become squashed which will reduce its effectiveness or be compromised by mice, birds or even squirrels.
‘The insulation should also not be blocking any airflow as this can lead to condensation problems and even rotten timbers. In some cases grants are available for work to the loft insulation.’
Seal of draughts
Draughts not only make your home cold, but are also an indication your property is losing heat. So, during these long, light days of summer, examine window and door frames to ensure they remain watertight and use weather stripping or caulking to combat any draughts, cracks or leaks.
Architect Peregrine Mears suggests a simple way to look for draughts. ‘Hold a candle flame and move it around the perimeter of the window; if the flame bends or moves, it probably means there is a draught coming through the window frame.’
An open chimney flue could be another source of heat loss.
‘This can be resolved easily and inexpensively with a Chimney Balloon (chimneyballoon.co.uk), a Chimney Sheep (chimneysheep.co.uk) or Chimney Umbrella (chimella.com) that’s inserted up the flue when it is not in use,’ says Michael Holmes.
And add a draught excluder to your summer shopping list — an easy way to prevent warmth escaping through windows and doors.
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