Wrapping Up For Winter

Don your winter woollies, a scarf, gloves and a hat, and you’re ready for the winter weather, but how about your home? Richard Carpenter, Branch Manager at our Fine & Country department in St Neots gives some tips on how to help your home through winter.

Preparing your home for winter can seem like an unnecessary hassle, but it’s likely that the financial benefits will outweigh the effort you put in at the start of the colder weather. Ensuring your property is adequately prepped can keep heating costs to a minimum, protect your home into the future, and make your home more appealing for potential buyers if you’re looking at putting your property on the market.

  • Heat rises, so one of the easiest ways to retain heat is to install insulation or check the condition of your insulation. If you own an older home, it may have inadequate insulation, meaning heat escapes easily. If you have an attic or loft, make sure that all doors and holes, such as around pipes or plumbing, are covered and sealed.
  • Next on the list are windows and doors. According to the Energy Saving Trust, draught-proofing is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to save energy – and money – in any type of building. Check for drafts around windows and doors and caulk inside and out, where necessary, to keep heat from escaping. Silicone caulk is best for exterior use – it won’t shrink and it’s impervious to the elements.  For opening windows, buy draught-proofing strips to stick around the window frame and fill gaps. Floorboard drafts can be addressed by squirting silicone-based filler into the gaps.
  • For exterior doors, if your keyhole is uncovered, purchase a purpose-made cover ­– a metal disc drops over the keyhole, keeping your warmth within. Letterboxes can be fitted with a letterbox flap or brush, and if there’s a gap at the bottom of the door, used a brush or hinged-flap draught excluder.
  • Interior doors only need draught-proofing if they lead to an unheated room. Keep the doors closed and if there is a gap at the bottom of the door, block it with a draught excluder. Remember that some rooms, like bathrooms, need good ventilation, such as bathrooms, so these doors are best left untouched, and don’t block any wall vents.
  • If you have fireplaces that are not used, solar energy installer EvoEnergy says this could be costing you hundreds of pounds each year. You can cap your chimney or if you use the fireplace on rare occasions, block the draught with an inflatable chimney balloon. Alternatively, a Perspex fireplace cover seals a functional fireplace when it’s not being used. It costs upwards of £80, but can save far more than its price in reduced heating bills. Thick drapes can also keep heat in and a few warm throws on the sofa can reduce the need for additional heating.
  • Plumbing can also be an issue during winter, with burst pipes a common occurrence. The best way to stop this from happening is to keep your pipes warm with foam lagging, which reduces heat-loss and insulates pipes to stop them freezing.
  • Check your radiators are functioning properly, too. If they are colder at the top than the bottom, they have trapped air inside that’s stopping heat from circulating correctly. Bleed the radiators to release the air, and they will run more efficiently.
  • A few final exterior checks may also be worthwhile to protect your property – make sure gutters are free of fallen leaves and grime to minimise water blockage and keep trees close to the house trimmed back to reduce foliage fall.

Keeping your home cosy will keep your spirits high in winter. If your property is on the market, presenting a snug, energy-efficient home is a good selling point, and if you’re viewing properties, check whether these simple fixes are in place to keep you warm throughout winter.

For advice on selling or buying property, please contact our Fine & Country department in St Neots on 0330 333 1060 or visit www.fineandcountry.com

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