Winter has arrived, and the temperature is at its lowest. It has been a pain for you, but now is the moment to appreciate it truly. Every year, winter descends upon us and makes us uncomfortable, but if we are well prepared, this season may be pleasant.
We all know that buying warm clothing is one method to prepare for winter, but that isn’t all there is to it. Warm clothing will only protect your body. What about winter-proof your house?
Here’s where we can help. We outline 14 methods to get your home winter-ready this chilly season.
Table of Contents
- 1. Test Your Central Heating System
- 2. Get your Boiler Serviced
- 3. Check Your Windows and Doors
- 4. Bleed Out Your Radiators
- 5. Clear Out Your Chimney
- 6. Check Your Gutters
- 7. Know Where Your Stopcock is Located
- 8. Keep an Eye on Your Boiler Pressure
- 9. Get yourself a Smart Thermostat
- 10. Get your Pipes Insulated
- 11. Get Your Walls Insulated
- 12. Inspect Your Roof
- 13. Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
- 14. Prepare for Power Cut
- Final Thought
1. Test Your Central Heating System
Testing your central heating system to see if it is functioning the way it should be, is one of the critical steps you need to do to winterize your home.
It would help if you did it since central heating distributes heat throughout your home via radiators, pipes, and boilers to keep it warm and cozy.
Since the chilly weather may cause you to tremble a lot, you should be concerned if your central heating is not functioning correctly. All you have to do to test your central heating system is the following:
- Ensure that the timer for your central heating system and the boiler controls are turned on.
- Verify that the temperature in the room is set to the highest setting.
- Turn on every radiator: Set the highest setting on any valves with numbers. Valves without any numbers should be left open.
- The radiators should warm up after a few minutes (bigger houses may take longer).
- Keep the system running while ensuring all of your radiators are heating up.
- You may change the controls and valves to your preferred settings after you are confident that your radiators are functioning correctly.
2. Get your Boiler Serviced
Getting your boiler serviced annually is a great way to prepare for winter. During summer, it is not used that much, so when you operate the boiler after an extended period, you may encounter unexpected issues, i.e., interrupted heating and hot water, pilot light not switching on cold radiators, and leakage issues.
That’s why servicing a boiler is a brilliant idea to avoid breakdowns in the future, especially during the winter. A yearly boiler service can also keep your boiler in good working order, boosting its efficiency and effectiveness.
3. Check Your Windows and Doors
Another important tip is to check your windows and doors in winter. As in the rest of the warmer months, we keep our windows open for ventilation.
But as the temperature drops and the tremendous air storms into our homes, we realize the importance of having sealed windows and doors. Not having covered windows and doors cost you big money on energy bills.
In light of this situation, here are some tips to ensure that your doors and windows don’t let you suffer in the cold this winter:
- Conduct a detailed inspection of your windows and doors and look for gaps.
- Look for cracks in the window glass and get it repaired as soon as possible.
- Weatherproof your windows and doors externally.
4. Bleed Out Your Radiators
It’s essential to bleed your radiators to keep your house warm frequently. Additionally, bleeding out your radiators can improve the efficiency of your heating system by releasing trapped air.
In addition to bleeding, your radiators lower the pressure, which means you don’t need to crank up the heat as much, lowering your energy costs. To bleed out your radiators, all you need to do is follow these simple steps:
- Turn on your central heating system and heat the radiators.
- Feel which one of your radiators is cold.
- Turn off the system.
- Identify the bleeding valve.
- Insert a Radiator Key and turn it clockwise.
- Get a bowl or a towel cloth to cover the area
- Let it bleed out
- Check the pressure and turn the system back on.
5. Clear Out Your Chimney
In addition to keeping up with your central heating system, maintaining your chimney is crucial for your house throughout the winter.
The first thing that comes to mind when we hear the term “chimney” is a fireplace, but there is more to it than that since heat sources need chimneys to burn fuel, such as wood, oil, gas, and coal.
A chimney eliminates hot gases from your house’s heating system and by-products like carbon dioxide from the air. To ensure you enjoy this winter, cleaning your vent is crucial. All you need to do is follow these steps:
- To maintain seamless operation, have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional.
- The area around your fireplace should be cleaned.
- Stock up on wood securely (details provided in the next point).
- Decorate the area around your fireplace to create a relaxing and enticing ambiance and enhance the feeling of coziness.
6. Check Your Gutters
Your pipes and gutters need to be cleaned, which is the next crucial step you must take. While it doesn’t seem particularly difficult, it is still essential and cannot be avoided.
It happens because debris from leaves, twigs, moss, and other items can obstruct gutters. Floods and leaks might happen from this. Therefore, you must clean and maintain your pipes and gutters. Just adhere to these guidelines:
- Get a pair of waterproof gloves.
- Place a ladder at the side of your house.
- Climb the ladder and check for items that don’t belong in the gutter.
- Remove those items and put them in the plastic bag.
Tip: Ensure the ladder is not damaged, ensure safety, and work with a partner while cleaning a gutter.
7. Know Where Your Stopcock is Located
Knowing where your stopcock is located is essential. Usually, it is in your kitchen under the sink, so try finding it there first. If you cannot find it there, look for it in your house, including the utility room, hallway, by the gas meter, or somewhere outside your property.
After you find it try testing it to check the flow of water, as sometimes the harsh weather causes the pipe to freeze and, in the worst cases, causes cracks and bursts.
If the stopcock is stiff, try loosening it, but make sure you don’t try too hard; otherwise, you’ll break it. If your stopcock is leaking, then turn off the stopcock and call a professional for immediate help, as the issue might be more complex.
8. Keep an Eye on Your Boiler Pressure
Keeping an eye on your boiler pressure is necessary to avoid uninterrupted heating and hot water. Both your high and low boiler pressure are concerning, so make sure the pressure is ideal.
Now the question that will arise in your mind is what to do in both situations of boiler pressure being high and low then don’t worry, we will walk you through it quickly.
The Ideal Pressure
In case you don’t know, the Ideal pressure rating on your Boiler should lie between 1- 1.5 Bars.
Necessary Actions in Case of Low Boiler Pressure:
- Check with your utilities first which include gas pressure and water pressure.
- Check for water temperature and make sure it is not too cold.
- Clean up the build-up corrosion if there is any.
- Check the clogged filter, clean it up, or if the condition is too bad, then replace it.
Necessary Actions in Case of High Boiler Pressure:
- Check the pressure relief valve. Inspect if it is stuck or not.
- Bleed out your radiators.
- Check the pipes and look for any sign of leakages; get it repaired by a professional as soon as possible.
9. Get yourself a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat allows you to maintain an ideal home temperature. By getting a smart thermostat installed, your temperature will adjust automatically. Smart thermostats can learn your home heating pattern, which changes the heating, accordingly, limiting energy wastage and reducing energy bills.
10. Get your Pipes Insulated
Insulating pipes in winter is a step that must be performed on a priority basis to winter-proof your homes. As the temperature drops, the risk of getting frozen condensate pipes increases, and pipe insulation is necessary to prevent it.
Insulating pipes could protect your heating system from damage as temperatures drop, and pipe lagging can help lower your energy bills this winter. The pipes exposed between your Boiler and hot water cylinder have a great chance of heat loss, increasing energy bills, and limiting warm temperatures.
Due to this reason, it is crucial to get your pipes insulated as they will be protected and prevent the heat from escaping.
Focus on the lines that take hot water from your boiler or cylinder to your hot water taps. Wrap them up by finding a perfect-sized insulating tube. The tube won’t cost that much, and you can easily find it in any DIY store. Insulating a pipe typically costs £1.50 per meter.
The principal pipework, or all the pipes between your hot water tank and Boiler, typically costs around £25 to insulate. And the price is reasonable given the value it is providing.
11. Get Your Walls Insulated
Keeping your walls insulated is a great idea to keep the heat inside, make it more comfortable, and reduce your heating costs. It is not as complex as it sounds. All you need to do is determine what type of wall you have.
There are two types of walls one is called a Solid wall, and the other is called a Cavity wall. It is straightforward to differentiate between both of them. All you need to do is see the pattern of the bricks on your walls.
If the bricks have an alternating pattern, it indicates a solid wall; if the brick’s design is even, it suggests a Cavity wall. You may also determine whether the brickwork has been covered by measuring the breadth of the wall. Look at a window or door on an outside wall of your home.
Depending on your wall type and house size, insulating your walls will result in different prices and savings. For a semi-detached home, internal solid wall insulation will initially cost about £8,00 to install but might save you about £250 annually on energy costs.
A specialist can insulate cavity walls by injecting insulating material into the wall’s cavity or “gap.” An expert will drill insulation-injection holes in the exterior walls, fill them with cement, and seal them.
You may insulate your solid walls from the inside or outside of your house. Insulating internal walls involves either creating a stud wall with insulation material between the framing members or attaching rigid insulation boards to the wall. Insulating an outside wall entails attaching an insulating layer before plastering or cladding it.
12. Inspect Your Roof
Roof maintenance is one of the underrated aspects of our homes that is frequently ignored until and unless the issue starts to annoy you in the form of ceiling dampness or gutter overflow.
To be prepared for the winter, it is crucial to maintain your roof. Examine the structure for general flaws such as cracks, missing, loose, or broken tiles, warped or loose flashing, clogged gutters and drains, animal damage, and general weathering.
If you find any of these, contact a professional immediately. And allow him to take care of the upkeep and cleaning. Although it may initially cost you a little more, it will guarantee you peace of mind.
13. Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
Reversing the direction of your fan not only improves heating and makes it more efficient but also saves you money on your energy bills. We all know that warm air from our radiators rises upwards.
That’s why it takes time to get warm; reversing the direction of your fan turns the warmer air back down towards you and your family, making it a much cozier and friendlier environment for you and your family.
To change the direction of your fan, you won’t necessarily need a help of a professional, as most fans have a small switch that allows you to change the direction of the blades. A few amendments might need to be done to the screws to find the button, but eventually, you will find it.
But gather this in mind don’t run the fan on high settings as it can cause overheating; the suggested ideal location is to run the fan on low settings and enjoy an evenly spread out heating.
14. Prepare for Power Cut
Your list of winter storm essentials should start and end with food and drinking water. The food in your refrigerator and freezer will only last as long as those appliances keep it cool enough not to spoil if the weather is exceptionally sufficient to cause a protracted power outage.
Stock up on foods that can be stored safely and bottled water (in case there is a problem with the tap water or you have an electric water pump) in case of emergencies.
What you purchase will depend on what you already have on hand, such as an outside grill, for cooking during a winter power outage. But there are also suitable alternatives, including dried fruit, nuts, cereals, instant coffee, powdered milk, and tinned foods.
Don’t forget the formula or baby food if you have a baby. You’ll also need bottled water if you believe that tap water won’t be safe to drink during a blackout. Make sure you purchase enough water for yourself and your family, as an average individual uses around a gallon daily, not including water used for cleaning or cooking.
After taking care of food, gather warmer clothes and put them somewhere accessible, as power cuts are of longer duration in winter, and being highly dependent on your fireplace won’t help. That’s why wear warmer clothes and try to wear them in multiple layers.
Keep your doors and windows closed. Gather up flashlights, candles, and lanterns. Remove the switch off electrical items such as Tv, Gaming system, microwaves, and washing machine.
Winterproofing your homes isn’t that complex, all you need to do is take the proper steps to ensure the winter season doesn’t become a struggle.
Above mentioned steps should prepare you to enjoy the winter. Most of the steps can be performed by yourself, but in some stages, you will need professional assistance, which will only do you good. Some actions might cost you a little, but trust that you won’t regret it.
So, this winter, make the most out of winter. Enjoy it with your family and friends, cherish your holidays, and stay safe. Happy winters.