Regardless of if you’re concerned about an upcoming cold spell in early spring or want to prepare for the winter as a whole, there are various steps you can take to ensure your home is ready for cold weather.
In this guide, we’ll look at some of the best ways to prepare your home for frostier days and nights. Let’s dive in!
DIY Draught Proofing
To begin with, you’ll be glad to know there are low-cost ways of draught proofing your home ahead of cold weather arriving.
Some simple measures include adding door draught-stoppers, window draught-proofing strips and installing either decorator’s caulk or flexible fillers for your flooring and skirting boards. Whatever the case, be sure that the specific product you opt for is right for your home.
You may also want to consider more extensive ways of improving your home’s energy efficiency, such as double-glazed windows, loft insulation and wall insulation.
Test Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
It’s important to regularly test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. If you haven’t been doing so, now is a good time to form the habit, particularly as you’re more likely to use heating when it’s cold. That said, you should still continue the habit throughout the year.
All year round, you should test these alarms at least once a month but ideally once per week. Once your alarms’ batteries are running low or have ran out, be sure to replace them right away with suitable replacement batteries.
Moreover, be sure to replace your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms as soon as is needed, either as soon as the manufacturer recommends (e.g. once every 5 years) or sooner if necessary, such as because the units are worn down or becoming less reliable.
You’ll also want to bleed your radiators twice a year or sooner if necessary. You’ll be pleased to know that it’s possible to bleed radiators DIY, although, if in doubt or if you’d simply prefer to, you can always hire a heating engineer for the job.
Bleeding radiators is a task that involves ridding radiators of air pockets. By removing these air pockets, it can make your radiators more efficient and effective. This can help ensure your home heats up well when it’s cold out and avoid inefficient radiators bringing up your heating bills.
If approaching this DIY, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and take all necessary safety steps (e.g. ensure your heating is off AND not scheduled to turn on during the process of bleeding your radiators).
Fix a Broken Drain
If your drain line is broken or has other issues, it’s important to address this right away. Of course, this sort of work means hiring professionals.
On average, repairing a broken drain can cost anywhere from a few hundred pounds to a couple of thousand pounds. Beyond that, should you need a soakaway installed, you’re looking at spending approximately £700.
If unsure what work may be needed with regards to your property’s drain or/and drainage abilities, you can always consult with a suitable drainage contractor or company.
Make A Plan for Power Outages
It’s also a good idea to make plans for unexpected power cuts. Of course, certain aspects of planning for a power outage during cold weather are more important at these times to ensure you and everyone in your home stays warm.
In general, it is best to have several torches and spare batteries for said torches, as well as a list of emergency contacts. It’s, of course, essential to remember where you keep these and ideally they should be kept in an easily accessible location, which will be important if the power outage occurs when it’s dark outside.
As for keeping warm, having plenty of blankets on the ready is important too. All that said, if someone with health issues lives in your home, having a more detailed plan is essential. In some cases, having back up power will be critical for their well-being.
Since the exact needs of someone with ongoing health issues can vary substantially, they should consult with their doctor and ensure that all necessary preparations and safety measures are taken so that a power outage does not threaten their well-being or life.
Clean Your Gutters
Beyond that, cleaning your guttering is a good way of preparing your home for the cold weather. After all, with the cold (specifically through the winter), often comes rain and high winds. You should clean your gutters or have them cleaned by a professional DIY at least once a year.
As a result, through wet and windy weather, debris can build up in your gutters and as a result, rain falling into your gutters (and at an increasing rate when reaching the winter time) can begin to overflow. This can, in turn, result in damage to your property.
To clean your gutters DIY, take the following steps:
- Set up a ladder in a suitable location and ensure a second person is there to hold it from the bottom at all times while you are working at a height.
- Put on protective gloves and wear suitable shoes that are fastened properly.
- Bring up a bucket with you and ascend the ladder.
- By hand, remove debris and put it in the bucket. Once the bucket is full, descend the ladder, empty the bucket and re-ascend the ladder to remove more debris.
- When descending or re-ascending the ladder, be sure
Look Into Your Flood Risk
Lastly, it’s a good idea to find out what your local food risk is and to know what preparations and plans you should have in place.
For those based in England, Gov.uk has a way for you to check the flood risk in your area. If based in Scotland, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s official website is the site to check out. If based in Wales, go to Naturalresources.wales or, if located in Northern Ireland, visit NI Direct Government Services’ website.
If in doubt or you have additional queries (particularly if they are quite localised), contact your local council for further clarity.
Preparations you’ll want to make can include a thought-out plan for a swift, safe escape. You should also let any neighbours know who may not be aware of the flood risk, particularly if they are vulnerable or elderly.