Is your home ready for winter?

Okay so we’re the first to admit that it’s a bit weird to be writing about winter when it’s August. After all it’s still technically summer. But with September just a couple of days away we hate to break it to you but winter isn’t far off. Yes it’ll be time to dig out the winter clothes and crank up the central heating before we know it. 
So we have to ask: is your home ready for winter?
Look we don’t mean to be the bearer of bad news, but if this winter is anything like the last couple of years, where we’ve had to endure some of the coldest winters on record, we need to be prepared for more extreme temperature drops, heavy snowfalls and lots and lots of ice. We don’t know about you but we’re shivering just thinking about it. Oh wait, it’s probably the office air con!
You see your house may be your home but when you strip it down to its basics it’s also a shelter, keeping you and what you hold most dear – be it the kids, the dog or even the cat – warm and comfortable and protected from the nasty outside elements.
Just remember there’s no time like the present to prepare your home for the perils of winter weather. Don’t wait for your boiler to break down. Act now. Prevention, as they say, is better than cure.

Boilers and central heating systems

Remember what it’s like when the cold weather starts to bite? Not surprisingly most of us in the UK rely on our trusted boilers and central heating systems to keep us warm and comfortable. So if you haven’t had your boiler serviced for 12 months it’s time to call out a heating engineer to give it the once over. Boiler breakdowns are common in winter which, ironically, is the absolute worst time of the year for things to go wrong. Think no heating and no hot water. Boilers need to be serviced annually to ensure they are working efficiently, and ideally before the winter period when heating engineers are busiest, running around like headless chickens trying to fix lots of broken boilers. Don’t let your boiler be one of them.
If your boiler is old and inefficient (think 15 years old and upwards) then now could be the perfect time to get free quotes to replace your ancient boiler for a modern A-rated energy efficient condensing boiler. Doing so could trim up to £300 off your annual energy bill. Also check the thermostats: they should ideally be set between 18°C -21°C. The hot water cylinder thermostat should be set at 60°C.

Retain as much heat as possible

The trick to staying warm and comfortable whilst keeping those dreaded energy bills as low as possible is to keep heat in. Draught proofing is the cheapest method of preventing heat escaping and, equally bad, letting cold air in. So get draught proofing gaps around doors, windows, and even letterboxes. Thick curtains can be a great asset in terms of keeping heat in. Just don’t forget to draw them when dusk sets in.
If your home has cavity walls check they are insulated. Same with your loft space. If the insulation is 4 inches or less than it needs topping up. Thanks to Government subsidised schemes like the Energy Company Obligation and Affordable Warmth loft and cavity wall insulation, and even boilers can be fitted at reduced rates or even for free. But you’ll need to meet strict criteria to qualify for a boiler grant or insulation grant.