- Have your boiler serviced – servicing your boiler will prevent it from breaking down when you need it most. An annual service will ensure that your boiler is safe and running at its most efficient, as well as detect any minor faults which could lead to serious problems. A gas boiler should only be serviced by a Gas Safe boiler specialist; if you have an oil boiler then you need to hire an OFTEC registered boiler expert.
- Keep on top of roof repairs – winter wind, rain, snow and freezing temperatures can take their toll on your roof. If there’s something wrong with your roof your home can become cold, damp, expensive to heat and even structurally unsound. So make sure that you regularly inspect your roof and repair any leaks, replace broken tiles and check that fascias and soffits are in good condition. It’s also essential to make sure your guttering is well maintained and free-flowing, so have it regularly cleaned.
- Stop your pipes from freezing – when the weather turns sub-zero, water pipes can freeze and burst, causing substantial damage to your home. You can stop this from happening by: insulating your home and your pipes, fixing leaky taps, disconnecting your hose and keeping your heating on low during cold weather. A plumber can insulate your pipes and deal with cracked or burst pipes.
- Double glaze your windows – if you have single glazed windows, much of the money you spend on heating your home is quite literally going straight out of the window. Double glazing your windows will keep your home warm and could save you up to £135 a year on your heating bills and cut your carbon emissions by 720kg annually, says the EST. Added benefits of double glazing include increased security and sound proofing as well as reduced condensation and a possible boost to the value of your home.
- Get insulated – in cold weather your home loses more heat than ever, especially if it’s poorly insulated. Check that your walls are externally insulated or fitted with cavity wall insulation and that you have at least 270mm of insulation in your loft. You may even be eligible for a government grant towards the cost of insulating your home; check with your local council for details.
- Damp proof your home – during the winter months damp can really creep into your home. To prevent this from happening, ensure you have a damp proofing course installed; check that gutters and downward pipes are clear and that your roof is in good repair. Protect against condensation by ensuring humidity levels stay at 65-70%. A damp proofing expert can carry out a survey on your home to diagnose and treat damp.
- Heat your home with a wood stove – installing a wood stove or boiler could be an eco-friendly option for your home, especially if you don’t have access to a gas mains. According to the EST, a wood burner could save you as much as £390 a year on heating costs if you are replacing coal or electric heating and it can reduce your carbon emissions by up to 9.5 tonnes a year. If you source wood locally and replant the trees you burn, a wood boiler can be a completely carbon neutral heating solution.
- Plug up your draughts – draught proofing is probably the simplest winter home improvement you can make. Plugging up draughts around your doors, windows and letterbox will save money and energy as well as keeping your home cosy. A draught proofing specialist will use either draught excluders like sealants or strips made of rubber or plastic to keep your home draught free.