Preparing the house for winter

Preparing the house for winter

Get your home cosy and prepped for anything the weather might have in store in the cold winter months ahead.

It’s good to spend a little time in the autumn running household checks before you batten down the hatches. Here’s how.

1. Get your garden in order

Put away or cover garden furniture and collect kids’ toys abandoned after summer games – they’ll last much longer if they’re not left outside all year round. If you don’t have a shed, put garden things together in one corner of your yard and cover securely with a waterproof sheet.
TIP Make sure fencing isn’t loose and position potted outdoor plants so they can’t be easily blown over.
WHY NOT… check out our article on Creating a colourful winter garden? You’ll have something nice to look at while you’re warm indoors.

2. Stay tough on the outside

A good coat of the right exterior paint for woodwork or masonry will offer the best protection to window frames and doors. Do a quick check around to see what looks like it really can’t wait until spring and just do some touching up, filling holes and painting trouble spots if you don’t have time to redo every surface.
TIP Damaged glass won’t cope well in frost and wind so get windows replaced before they become an expensive short-notice call-out.
WHY NOT… treat the inside to a little love, too? Treat your rooms to a few makeover tips and Create a warm welcome.


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3. Keep things snug

If your boiler check is overdue do it now, before the winter emergency rush. Also, move furniture that might have got pushed against radiators in summer, so rooms are heated more effectively. If radiators feel cold at the top and warm at the bottom they might need a ‘bleed’: switch off the central heating for a few minutes and turn the radiator’s bleed valve to release trapped air. It’s easy to do but do check your heating manual if you’re unsure.
TIP Fitting a heavy curtain over the front door instantly keeps your home warmer. Make your own draught excluders by sewing simple sausage-shaped cases from material scraps and using the filling from old pillows.
WHY NOT… take a look at our tips for Energy savings room by room?

4. Prevent leaks

Pipes exposed to very cold temperatures can freeze in winter. Switch garden taps off at the valve and, even when you’re away, keep the heating on at a low level rather than switching it off, so warm water still flows through the system regularly. The joints in pipes can loosen over time so check connectors for dishwashers, washing machines etc (usually situated under your sink).
TIP Gutters that clog up with leaves and dirt can also cause water damage. Get an expert to clean them out for you if you’re not experienced on high ladders.
WHY NOT… check your home insulation is working as hard as it can? The Energy Savings Trust has some brilliant advice and tips.

5. Sort your home supplies

On darker days the lights are on for a lot longer, so make sure you’ve stocked up on spare lightbulbs and that your torches have got batteries in. Make sure you’ve got a few foodie standbys in the cupboard too (jars, tins and dry essentials like pasta) for stay-in suppers on stormy nights.
TIP If you need to clear icy pathways, don’t forget cat litter can be a handy alternative to salt!
WHY NOT… bring as much light into your home in winter as you can, with our 5 décor ideas to brighten your home?

For more useful pointers, don’t miss our article 10 ways to save money with home maintenance.

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