A winter weather survival guide for your home

December is here and the weather has taken a turn for the wintry. The bookies are still taking bets on whether or not we’ll end up with a white Christmas, but even if the snow stays away, it seems like a sure thing that we’ll wind up with ice, wind, and a fair amount of rain over the next few months.

Cold weather can pose real problems for your home, but there are a number of things you can do to protect it from the worst of the season. Here are a few things you can do to get through another winter.

Insulate your pipes

When the temperature outside drops below freezing, it can play havoc with your home’s plumbing. Water in pipes can freeze and expand causing cracks and leaks in pipes, which can lead to floods and water damage. It’s important that you insulate your pipes where you can, especially in places which are susceptible to low temperatures, such as in your attic. A plumber can help.

Make sure your home is insulated

Insulation helps keep the cold out and keep the warmth in, and by doing so, will help your home’s energy efficiency and cut down on your heating bills. There are lots of ways you can insulate your home, from using simple draft excluders around doors, to basic loft insulation and cavity wall insulation - things that can help whatever your need and whatever your budget. Insulation specialists can help you decide what’s best for your home.

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Ensure your boiler is working well

We rely on our radiators at this time of year, so imagine how stuck we’d be if they weren’t working. We should all ensure our boilers are in working order with a check-up each year - it doesn’t take long to do and will give you precious peace of mind. If your radiators are giving out heat unevenly with cold patches, they made need bleeding, or in some cases, a power flush that clears out the whole system. A central heating expert can sort it out.

Upgrade your windows

Windows can be weak points in cold weather, with badly fitted frames and panes allowing cold air in. If you see moisture inside your double glazing - water which you can’t wipe off from either side - then it might be a sign that your double glazing has failed, and is no longer helping to insulate your home properly. Window fitters are the best people to speak to.

Clear your gutters

Leaves are still coming down as trees shut down for winter, meaning slippy pavements and clogged gutters. Although it’s a simple fix, it’s an important one, as blocked gutters can overflow, leak, and lead to penetrating damp. A guttering specialist will be able to give yours a once over.

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Fix your paths and paving

Slipping on icy patches in a common accident in winter, so if you have a path or driveway that’s cracked and potholed, now is a good time to bring it up to scratch. A driveway paver will be able to help with a variety of surfaces, whether it’s new paving slabs or adding new tarmac.

Clean your chimney

If you have an open fireplace or fuel-burning stove in your home, it can be a lovely focal point of the room, and a perfect way to get cosy and enjoy some seasonal cheer. However, it’s vital that yours is in good working order to make sure it’s safe to use throughout the winter. Clearing the chimney of any blockages is essential to keep it running well, while your stove should also be checked over to make sure there are no issues. A chimney and fireplace specialist can help put your mind at ease.

Touch up your brickwork

Cold weather can cause moisture in your brickwork’s mortar to freeze and expand, before contracting again at it warms up. This constant weathering can cause mortar to crack and come loose, damaging the integrity of your brickwork. Check to see if your mortar is solid and consistent, and isn’t powdery, or comes away when you touch it. Repointing is a relatively simple job that a bricklayer can help with.

Repair your roof

Winter weather these days can mean rain and sleet as much as snow and ice, so keeping water out of your home is essential. Even a single slipped tile on a roof can lead to rain getting in and causing damage, so it’s important to make any repairs as soon as possible. A roofer should be able to take a look at your roof and take pictures of anything that might need doing so you can take action.

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