Our homes can take a real battering in the winter from the harsh cold, wind, rain and sometimes snow! British Gas have given some excellent advice on how to make sure your home is well looked after through the winter months:
1. Give your gutters a clear-out
It’s not a nice job but at this time of year it’s important to make sure your guttering is clear of sticks and leaves. Once you’re up the ladder, make sure the pipes can carry water away from your home. This prevents damp from getting into your walls which can cause damage.
2. Add some layers to your loft
Loft insulation can really make a big difference to keeping the heat in your home. Even if you've got insulation, it's worth checking it's up to standard.
3. Wrap your pipes up warm
You can keep your cold pipes cosy by wrapping them up with lagging which you can buy online for a few pounds. This could stop them from freezing and avoids blockages and burst pipes. Check the problem areas first, where the pipes run outside or in cold areas of your home, like your garage. Cut the lagging to length, wrap up the straight bits and don’t worry about the kinks.
4. Give your radiators some TLC
Bleeding a radiator can seem like a daunting task. But it’s really easy and will help keep your home toasty this winter. If your radiators are cold at the top and hot at the bottom, they’ll need bleeding.
Turn off your heating and get a cloth and a bleed key ready. At the top of your radiator, turn the valve anti-clockwise until you hear a hiss (don’t worry, it’s only air). Hold a rag below to catch any water that drips. Once water starts to flow, tighten the value up and you’re done.
5. Keep your boiler ticking over
When the weather is cold, it’s a good idea to heat your home for one hour every day, even when you’re away. It helps keep things running smoothly and it’s easy to do from your boiler timer. Each boiler is different, but you’ll find out how to set yours with the manual that came with your unit or if you search for your model’s instructions online.
6. Boilers work best at one bar
When protecting your home this winter, it’s important to check your boiler pressure – it should be about one bar. You’ll find the pressure gauge on the front of your boiler or underneath it, where the pipes are. It’ll be either a dial or a digital display. If it’s too high or too low, it’s a good idea to give a Gas Safe engineer a call to make sure your pressure is right.
7. Do you know where your stop cock is?
If the water in your pipes freezes, pressure can build up behind the blockage and cause them to burst. Although that’s rare, it’s important to know where your stop cock is so you can shut off the mains in an emergency (it’s normally under your sink). Look for a tap or a lever on your copper pipes and turn it clockwise to switch it off. If your pipes do freeze, locate the frozen pipe and apply heat to melt the blockage – a hair dryer or hot water bottle works best.
8. Leave the cold at the door
If you’re feeling the chill from draughts in your home, sealing them is a quick and simple way to stay warm and save money. Good places to check for draughts are around the edges of your window frames, the gaps under your doors, and around your letterbox. Draught excluders are available online for a few pounds which will help with the doors. You could even make one yourself if you’re feeling creative. For windows and other small gaps, just seal the openings and keep the cold out this winter.
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