When the days start getting shorter and the temperature drops, there’s nothing better than getting cosy at home and enjoying the warmth of a roaring fire. But it’s important to remember that the winter chill can put a real strain on our houses, triggering problems such as frozen pipes, broken boilers and blocked drains. Follow our handy hints to make sure your home is fully equipped for the colder months, and ready to cope with anything winter may throw at it.
Placing kitchen foil behind radiators all over the house will reflect the heat coming from them back into each room. This will help you to stay warm and save you money on your energy bills.
It's easy to lose warmth through small cracks in your windows, so close your blinds and curtains as soon as you get home in the evenings to trap the heat.
So you're not faced with the problem of a burst pipe, use salt and water to unblock any troublesome drains. Salt is naturally good at scouring surfaces, which will help to get rid of any grime lurking in the pipes.
Power cuts are a pain at the best of times, but they're particularly inconvenient during the winter. Make sure you're prepared for a power outage by keeping all your candles, matches and torches in one place - and don't forget to buy batteries.
Turning the heating off while you're out could cause your pipes to freeze. To avoid this, keep the central heating on low when you leave the house, and open all internal doors. You can also avoid frozen pipes and tanks by keeping the hatch to your attic ajar.
Icy driveways are an endless source of frustration during the chillier months, but putting down cat litter can make a huge difference. What's more, unlike salt, it won't kill your plants.
Trapped air in your radiator can cause noisy gurgles and prevent heat from circulating properly. You can solve this by bleeding all your radiators to release the air and warm up your home more efficiently.
So that your pond doesn't freeze over when the winter chill sets in, there's a handy trick you can try. Place a tennis ball in the middle of the pond, as this will slow the formation of ice. If it does freeze over, remove the tennis ball to create an oxygen hole for your plants and fish.
Winter is the worst time of year to start experiencing difficulties with your hot water supply, but luckily there are some checks you can do to nip the problem in the bud. These include:
Winter is a popular time for making home insurance claims, with maintenance problems cropping up for many at this time for year. Hopefully you won’t need to make a claim, but just in case you do, check your home insurance policy is up to date.
If you are ever in doubt about how to look after your home during the winter months, particularly when it comes to your heating, contact a specialist.