Five ways to make your home winter ready
Save money on expensive property repairs in the depths of winter by addressing a few maintenance jobs now.
As memories of summer diminish and the nights draw in, we've listed our top five maintenance jobs to prepare your home for winter.
1. Check your Roof
What to do:
  • Check for loose or missing tiles or slates.
  • Check roof nails for signs of corrosion
  • Inspect all cement skews and / or lead flashing
  • Ensure all render / harling / rough cast)is sound
  • Make sure ridge tiles are sound
  • Clear all valleys and check water gates are open
  • Check attics and loft spaces for damp or signs of water penetration

What is the worst case scenario?

  • Loose tiles or slates could be ripped from the roof in strong winds.
  • Water penetration could damage insulation, ceilings and decoration or even items stored in the roof space.
  • All "Emergency" roofers that you call are dealing with other emergencies

2. Clear gutters and downpipes
The best time to do this is now as most of the leaves are off the trees.
What to do:
  • Clear leaves, twigs, moss, sand and other debris from gutters
  • Check the joints and reseal as necessary
  • Ensure support brackets are secure
  • Make sure there are no blockages in down pipes

What is the worse case scenario?

  • During a heavy down pour water could overflow from a gutter back towards the house and penetrate the wall under the eaves
  • Trapped water could freeze and expand either bursting down pipes or causing gutters to collapse

3. Service your boiler

Servicing a boiler won't guarantee that it won't break down on the coldest night of the year but it may help spot early signs of problems. It also it ensures that it's operating safely.
Regularly serviced boilers break down less often and run more efficiently than those that aren't.
What to do:
  • Call a Gas Safe registered Engineer (Or ask HomeForce to organise one for you). This isn't a job to do yourself
  • You can, though, turn on all your heating and then highlight any concerns you have to the engineer.
  • Click here to see what a boiler service involves

What is the worst case scenario?

  • A Boiler break down on Christmas day
  • New Year without a hot bath to soak in ?
  • Budgeting for a new boiler with the depleted finances for festive excess

4. Cut out the draft

Windows and doors are the main avenues for heat loss. It's too late in the year to start thinking about upgrading to double glazing, here are a few less expensive options.
What to do:
  • Firstly check that windows and doors are sound and closing properly
  • Fit:
    • "P strips" around doors that rattle
    • Weather bars to the foot of external doors
    • Letter box brushes or flaps fitted
    • Door/window strips installed

What is the worst case scenario?

  • High heating bills
  • A stiff neck from sitting in a draft

5. Prepare your garden for Spring

If you'd like your garden to look great when Spring...err... springs into life now's the time to prepare
What to do:
  • Rake up leaves (and compost them)
  • Clear beds of weeds
  • Prune back shrubs, bushes and trees
  • Plant spring bulbs (like tulips and daffodils)
  • Mulch bare soil with compost
  • Edge paths and beds
  • Hang out bird feeders

What is the worst case scenario?

  • Nowhere nice to sit for a glass of wine on the first warm day of the new year
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