Faced with strong winds, rainfall, and freezing temperatures, it's important to make sure your home is ready to handle harsh weather conditions. Even simple tasks, like cleaning the gutters, could save you hundereds of pounds on a costly repair job!
If you don't know where to start, don't panic, because we've teamed up with Izzy Schulman, Director at Plumbers4U, to give you nine simple home hacks that will have your home ready to face the elements in no time at all.
Izzy's advice… "As the autumn leaves fall, gutters and drains can get clogged with loose foliage. Once the blockage becomes too much, water will start to collect in your gutter and eventually leak into your roof. Clear your gutters regularly to prevent this ill-fated scenario."
Izzy's advice… "Extreme temperatures and wet weather can cause untreated wood to expand and rot, so check your window frames, filling any cracks and adding a coat of paint if needed.
"Seal a drafty door by installing foam or felt weather-stripping inside the door frame. You can check for drafts by moving a lit candle around the door frame; the flame will blow towards you if there is a draft."
Izzy's advice… "Even if you think you’ve been using your heating too much, avoid the temptation to turn it off completely. You might feel like you’re saving money, but extreme cold can damage pipes, so instead set the central heating to a minimum of 14 degrees celsius throughout the winter, which will prevent pipe frost damage."
Izzy's advice… "Heating ducts waste around 30 per cent of the heated air they carry, due to leaks and poor conduction. Sealing leaks can lower these risks; but before you start, ask a heating contractor whether you need to have a combustion safety test done first.
"You won’t be able to reach all ducts, as some are concealed by walls, ceilings and floors. But you can improve how they work by sealing exposed ducts in lofts, basements and garages."
Izzy's advice… "Winter means it’s time to double-check the condition of blanket-style loft insulation (mineral wool or glass). It should be 270mm thick to keep your house warm and lower energy costs."
Izzy's advice… "Winter is when you're most at risk of burst water pipes, but 75 per cent of homeowners don’t even know if their pipes are properly insulated. The best way to do this is by using lagging, which you can get inexpensively from any plumbing merchant.
"If you have a hot water tank, make sure it is properly lagged too. This keeps the water warmer for longer. The Energy Community believes insulating an uncovered tank could save homeowners around £150 a year and upgrading a tank’s old jacket can lower costs too."
Izzy's advice… "A big cause of lost heat is an unused fireplace. If you have a chimney you don’t use, but you don’t want to board it up, you can use a chimney balloon, which is easy to inflate and will last for years.
"Many are fire resistant too, so it’s not a complete disaster if you accidentally forget to move it when setting a fire."
Izzy's advice… "Make sure you have the name and number of a qualified plumber and boiler engineer to hand, so if your boiler stops working or your pipes freeze or burst, you can call them straight away.
"Check your home insurance covers your pipes too. If it doesn’t, consider taking out Home Emergency cover."