Stay cosy and save money this winter

Winter's on its way, so we've put together these handy tips to help get your home ready, whatever the weather. Find out how to keep your home warm and toasty, make a few changes and save on energy bills. And make sure you don't get any nasty surprises like burst pipes this winter.

Wrap up warm for winter

Reducing heat loss from your home and having an efficient heating system could help significantly reduce your heating bills while keeping you warm.

Putting these tips in place around your home could have significant savings on your energy bills. Such as fitting a hot water cylinder insulating jacket, using a programmer or cavity wall insulation.

It’s curtains for the cold

As the sun goes down, don't forget to close your curtains to keep that heat in.

And to cut down energy use (and your heating bills) think about using thick, full-length, lined curtains or the latest thermal blinds.

Beat boiler breakdowns

The last thing you want is a boiler breakdown. So get your boiler serviced every year by a Gas Safe Registered engineer.

And don’t forget to keep the water pressure topped up.

Bear in mind too, that turning your thermostat down by just 1 °C will save money on your heating bills.

Make it a clean sweep

Everyone loves an open fire. Keep yours burning safely this winter by getting it swept by a NACS – National Association of Chimney Sweeps – registered sweep. If you don’t use your fireplace, think about installing a chimney balloon. It costs about £20 and stops cold air getting in and warm air getting out through your chimney. Just be sure not to start a fire without removing it.

Lights on, someone’s home

Keep your house safe when you’re at home or away. Security lights and gravel driveways mean you’ll always know when people are approaching the house.

And a British Standard approved burglar alarm and timer switches for your lights give extra protection when you’re not at home.

Cut heating bills while staying warm

Not using all your rooms? Then turn their radiators down to the bare minimum. That way, you won’t be spending money to keep an unused room unnecessarily warm. At the same time, you’ll also protect those rooms against any possible damp or mould problems.

For the rooms you do use, consider installing a thermostat to turn down the heat when you’re out and about. Also, if your heating has a timer, use it to ensure that your home is nice and cosy when needed.

Get extra from your radiators

Remember to bleed radiators regularly and perhaps fit a shelf above them to direct heat into the room instead of up towards the ceiling.

Also, move any furniture from in front of radiators that might be absorbing the heat

Plain old aluminium foil on the wall behind a radiator can reflect heat back into the room instead of out through the wall.

Crafty not draughty

Fitting draught excluders, letterbox covers and window and door tapes to eliminate those little gaps is a cheap, easy and effective way to reduce heat loss.

Give the house a health check

It pays to have the exterior of your home checked by a reputable tradesman. They’ll make sure guttering is secure and free of debris.

Whilst they’re up there, they’ll inspect any timbers and brickwork and tell you if anything needs fixing. They’ll also look at external pipes, taps and hoses and make sure they are drained, turned off and insulated to prevent freezing.

Save all important contacts, just in case

Keep our phone number handy in case of emergencies, along with a list of other useful contacts such as your utility supplier, plumber, heating engineer, etc. Saving the numbers to your phone is a good idea. Also, check your policy to see what you’re covered for and whether you might need to increase your cover.

Got your roof covered?

It’s a good idea to have a reputable tradesman inspect your roof (inside and out) for loose or missing tiles, cracks and any other little gaps where water could seep through and cause damage. Let them fix these small snags now and you won’t have to worry about expensive repairs later on.

Grit and bear it

It’s better to start shovelling snow sooner rather than later. Fresh, loose snow is easier to shift. Spreading grit or salt on the area you’ve cleared will help stop ice forming. Spread evenly, paying particular attention to any steps or slopes.

Help less able neighbours out too. If they can’t clear their paths and driveways themselves, offer to do it for them.

Mind the gaps

Are your garden fences and walls sturdy enough to stand up to the worst that winter can throw at them? Check they’re in good condition and make any repairs now to save yourself money and hassle later.

Keep furry friends warm

Small animals like rabbits and guinea pigs really feel the cold. So it’s best to either bring them indoors or move their outdoor hutch to a shed or car-free garage. Make sure their hutch is dry, well ventilated and has extra warm bedding. You’ll need to change their bedding at least twice a week too.

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