Preparing Your Home for the Winter Chill: A 9-Step Checklist for Homeowners
If you live in the UK, you’ll have noticed that over the past month or so the temperature has really dropped – and it’s only going to get colder. As a homeowner, you’ll know all too well how important it is to get certain jobs done around the house so that when the freezing temperatures become a regular thing, you don’t have to worry about things breaking or causing damages that could cost you a lot of money. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the things you should be doing around your home and garden now in time for the freeze.
Do the final trims in the garden
If you have a garden full of trees, shrubbery, and even hedges, now is the time to do a final prune of each of them. They won’t grow much when it’s colder, but if the weather does get bad, anything that’s near to your home could fall and damage your home in some way. Trim back any trees with large branches overhanging your home, cut back shrubbery to look neater, and give your hedges one final trim.
Not only does this help prevent any unwanted damage in your home, your garden will look neat and tidy all the way through until spring, which is another bonus if you’re hosting Christmas this year.
You should also pay special attention to any dead plants, leaves, or weeds that you notice in your garden. Spending a little bit of time disposing of them will ensure nothing gets out of hand when the weather is warm enough for things to start growing again. Plus, damp leaves on the ground can turn into a huge slipping risk, so you’re saving yourself a potentially painful festive period.
Check your roofing
At this time of the year, the UK experiences dull and gloomy days most of the time. Even if the sun does make an appearance, those days are usually very frosty and it’s going to be difficult to check things like the condition of your roof.
Check for any missing shingles or any that may have slipped out of place. If you don’t want to climb a ladder, it’s a good idea to get a roof professional to come in and do a quick inspection. While shelling out for a roof repair isn’t something you want at this time of the year, it’s better to nip any problems in the bud before they escalate into something much bigger.
You should also check how the roofing is in other areas of your home and garden too, such as your sheds or log shelters. If they are damaged and some bad weather hits, everything inside could become ruined. If you rely on your log shelter to keep you warm throughout the winter, this should be a priority. You can buy replacement roofing from Clear Amber Shop if you notice any damage so that everything inside is protected from the elements.
Clear your gutters
If you are checking your roof, take the time to take a quick look at your gutters. While we don’t suffer so much with blocked gutters as the US do, it’s important to make sure there’s no blockages that could cause the gutters to fall and cause serious damage to your home.
Again, if you’re not the one going up the ladder, ask the person doing the inspection to take a quick look for you. Most roofing professionals will offer this service too, so if there are any blockages, get them cleared as soon as possible.
You should also ask them to take a look at the condition of your gutters and piping at the same time. As mentioned above, it’s not a cost you want right now, but if you leave the problem to escalate, it could be much more costly.
Have your windows and doors resealed
If you’ve been noticing drafts through your home since the weather got cooler, there’s probably a seal or two on your windows or doors that need replacing. Locate the source of the problem, and then speak to a local window and door company to come out and replace those seals.
If you can’t afford to have this done at the moment, then a great way of getting around the problem is by using draft excluders. You can use them around your windows and doors to keep the cold air out and most importantly, the warmer air in. They’re really cheap to buy, but you can make them yourself with some pillow cases and foam. Either way, it will help keep your home warm until you can afford to have your seals replaced.
Have a boiler inspection
Most of us here in the UK have already put the central heating on, but have you thought to call an engineer to check on your boiler? It’s a good idea to have your boiler inspected at least once a year, so if you haven’t, now is the time to do that. The last thing you want is for your boiler to fail when the weather is extremely cold out.
Making the effort to have this inspection done regularly will prevent any large costs from coming your way. Smaller issues can be dealt with quickly before it turns into a much more expensive problem when you need a working boiler the most.
Bleed your radiators
If your boiler is fine but your heating still doesn’t seem to be working as well, it might be because your radiators need bleeding. This is a fairly simple household chore that can be completed by anyone, as there are plenty of tutorials online.
However, it’s understandable that you don’t want to accidentally break something in the process. A plumber can come and do this for you for a fairly decent cost. Failing to bleed your radiators could not only mean you’re not as warm as you’d like to be, but you’ll be paying extortionate prices for your heating, which is something you want to avoid.
Dig out the winter furnishings
Aside from your heating, a great way to keep your home warm during the winter months is by furnishing your home with thicker materials. If you haven’t got any thicker furnishings, now is the time to invest in some. By hanging thicker curtains, adding throws and cushions to your sofas, and adding a thicker rug, you’ll notice that each room holds heat for longer.
Not only that, winter is a festive time of the year, and there’s nothing quite like getting in after a long day and sinking into the sofa with family to watch some great TV.
Stock up on essentials
Here in the UK, we don’t often get weather that’s so bad we can’t venture out to the shops. However, over the last few years there have been some occasions where snowfall or heavy rain has meant it’s difficult to get out for essentials.
Because of this, it’s a good idea to stock up on some essentials just in case you are stuck inside for a day or two. Having some extra meat and vegetables in the freezer is always a good idea, and you can never go wrong with a heavily stocked pantry.
For perishable items like bread, you could always freeze a loaf of bread, or get the ingredients to make your own. For items like milk, while not desirable, you could stock up on some longlife milk just in case you can’t get out.
Other essentials to keep in mind might be logs or coals if you have an open fire, or even jugs of fresh water just in case the water goes down for a day or two. Hopefully you won’t need any of these things, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Do a final annual clearout
Christmas is 10 days away, and if you’re like most families around the UK, now is the time to do a massive clearout of belongings you no longer want or need. If you find it difficult to get rid of belongings, try and use the six month rule. Have you used it in the last six months? Will you use it in the next six months? Does it hold any kind of sentimental value?
If the answer to all three of these is no, then it’s probably time to either bin, sell, or donate it. At this time of the year, charity shops are always keen to welcome new donations, so if it’s in good condition then it’s definitely something to consider!
These nine checklist items won’t apply to everyone, but it’s definitely a great place to start when it comes to getting your home ready for the winter. It’s also very understandable that paying for some of these things might not be achievable at the moment. But, if you complete as many of these items as you can, you run less of a risk of any expensive problems or damages, and you can enjoy Christmas as you intended.