The nights are drawing in, the kids are back at school, and there’s an undeniable crispness in the air. This means it’s the perfect time to take care of those small tasks that will make a huge difference throughout the colder months, as well as carry out the biannual maintenance that will keep your home running smoothly.
1. Check your pipes
Pipes in unheated areas such as your attic, crawl space, or garage could be in danger of freezing and bursting during the winter months. Check them for any cracks, weaknesses or leaks, and repair damaged pipes immediately. It’s also a good idea to insulate your hot water pipes before the temperatures really drop – this could save you more than £25 a year on your energy bills. Pipes burst because of pressure building up behind the frozen area, so remember to run your taps for a minute each day to keep the water flowing.
3. Install insulation
If your property isn’t properly insulated, you may want to do the job before the cold weather really kicks in. Cavity wall and attic insulation stop heat from escaping, keeping your home nice and cosy and saving you large amounts on your energy bills. Insulation under your floorboards can also reduce draughts, and according to the Energy Saving Trust, this change has the potential to save you up to £75 a year. Don’t be put off by the initial cost either, insulation can last over 40 years, and you might even be eligible for a grant.
4. Do some draught proofing
Fit draught strips around your interior doors and their frames, as well as around your window casements. Any cracks in the wall can be filled in with putty. For floorboards, use a silicone based sealant which will allow for a bit of movement. Damaged brickwork around your home can be held over with a top-up of mortar between the bricks, although it’s a good idea to get it re-pointed in the future. As a final step, make sure you cover up any disused vents.
5. Prepare your garden
Store your garden furniture or cover it with tarpaulin to prevent weather damage. Wooden decks and fencing may also benefit from a coat of sealer. Add a thick layer of winter mulch to your flower beds to enrich them and keep the soil protected from drastic changes in temperature.
6.Take a look at your roof
Safely using a ladder, go up to the roof and make sure everything is in order. Check for loose, damaged, or missing shingles and keep an eye out for any areas that may need to be replaced or repaired. It’s also a good idea to check the seals around chimneys or vents for wear and tear. Replacing broken tiles and getting new sealant put in can prevent leaks when the weather takes a turn for the worse.
7. Inspect your chimney
Most chimneys don’t need to be swept every year but it’s still a good idea to call out a professional for an inspection. Blockages like bird or wasp nests are quite common, and creosote also has a tendency to build up inside an unkempt stack. It’s better to get rid of them at the start of the season than to have your living room fill with smoke when you light your first fire.