The changing season brings the need to get our homes ready to cope with the harsh winter conditions.
Rhoddy MacKinnon, Barratt Group Construction Director, said: “With the seasons changing, it’s good to get your home safe and energy efficient by doing some essential jobs before the cold, wet weather kicks-in. Tackling these tasks early on in the seasonal switch, such as inspecting insulation and boilers, means that you could avoid expensive, unexpected bills in the run-up to Christmas.
“With energy prices rocketing, making your home warm and cosy will cut the cost of your energy bills. It’s not only a savvy move financially, but is also environmentally responsible. By taking steps to seal any draughts and optimise our heating systems, you’ll be contributing to a greener, more sustainable future.”
Find out what Barratt Homes recommends to get your home ready for winter.
1. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Ideally, these tests should be done once a month throughout the year to ensure you can be alerted to any risk of fire in your home. To test that they are working, simply check and change the batteries which can be found in the back of the detectors, then press the button on the front to trigger the alarm.
If you have a fireplace or log burner, check that these are in full working order and give them, as well as your chimney, a deep clean.
2. Check the attic and roof
Insulation in your attic should be checked for any damage to keep your home warm during the winter. Tears, draughty areas, or musty smells are signs that your insulation needs changing or repairing.
Whilst in your attic, look for any watermarks or dark patches. These can indicate the presence of rot, sagging, or signs that sunlight is seeping in due to disrepair. By checking the tiles and condition of your roof, you can rectify any issues before they become more severe and costly.
The average cost for blanket insulation ranges from £125 to £420, whereas blown fibre insulation costs range from £1,375 to £4,125, with both depending on the size of your home.
3. Clean the gutters
Remove any debris, such as leaves or moss, from your gutters to ensure rainwater can flow. Use a hosepipe or jet wash to remove any small pieces of debris which you may have missed. This will also reveal if you have any leaks in your gutters, so remember to look for any unexpected water drips or flows.
We recommend that you use a verified company. We would guard against using tradesmen who knock on doors to offer their services to avoid potential scammers.
In the UK, the average cost for replacing guttering around your home ranges between £480 and £720, as materials, size and shape affect the prices.
4. Check for draughts
With energy prices at their highest levels since records began, it’s good to check your windows and doors for draughts. Cool air seeping through could mean that the seals are damaged. To check, run your hand around windows, doors, and skirting boards. You can also listen for rattles or whistles in high winds. To make your home draught-free, apply caulk or a draught excluder around the window or door. Hanging heavy curtains and using sausage draught excluders also helps to keep the cold out.
5. Check the boiler
As the colder months approach, demand for plumbers increases, so it is highly recommended to check your boiler as early as possible to avoid needing repairs during peak demand. You should also look at the pressure gauge on your boiler, if it is lower than 1 bar, this indicates your boiler is not working efficiently.
Making these checks now could save you thousands of pounds in the winter months, as the average boiler repair cost is £300. If you need to replace an old boiler, you might be eligible for the Government’s scheme, which supports the move to heat pumps or biomass boilers, which are more sustainable (https://www.gov.uk/apply-boiler-upgrade-scheme)
6. Bleed the radiators
To know if your radiators need bleeding, check if they are heating up correctly or for any cold spots which are found either at the top or bottom of the radiator. Bleeding your radiator is best done once a year when the temperature begins to drop.
To start this task, turn your boiler off and ensure that the radiator is cold. Use a radiator key and insert into the valve and slowly turn it anti-clockwise; a hissing noise should be heard, and once you see water, close the valve. To prevent the water spilling onto your floor from the bottom of the radiator, place a container underneath the radiator.
7. Updating insurance
Winter is a good time to check what your home and contents insurance covers. Update your policy if you have made any significant changes, including any large purchases, such as electronics or bikes. With wetter winters predicted, it is worth ensuring your home covers leaks or storm damage.
8. Install a smart meter
Fitting a smart meter will give you real-time information on your energy use, enabling you to better manage your usage, so you can save money and reduce emissions. Better still, because they communicate directly with your electricity supplier, no one will need to read your meter.