Avoid expensive emergency call outs this winter with these savvy DIY property maintenance checks. Health and Safety should always remain a top priority. Here's how to check everything remains in good working condition, to save the environment
, which saves money!
1. Turn off pipes to outside water taps
Why? Because garden tap piping is usually linked to an indoor feed, often located under the kitchen sink. If the water inside the pipes freezes it can cause a leak inside your home when the weather thaws. So, better safe than soggy.
2. Leave the central heating on low
When you’re away from home, keep the central heating ticking over at a low temperature to avoid frozen pipes. Even when you are at home, try turning the thermostat down a notch. It’s better for the environment, your fuel bills and your skin. Central heating can be very drying, so if you need a little you-maintenance along with the home maintenance, try Olay Anti Wrinkle Instant Hydration for instantly brighter smoother looking skin.
3. Check chimneys before having a fire
Lighting a fire under a blocked chimney can be smoky and dangerous. If you have a gas ‘coal effect’ fire, see the manual for DIY checks.
4. Draught proofing
Heating your home to compensate for chilly draughts can add up to 30% to your energy bills. For extra insulation, stick weather stripping tape on door frames and make sausage-shaped draught excluders (old jumpers are good for this). For windows, try reducing heat loss by covering the glass with cling film or sheets of window plastic, available from DIY shops.
5. ‘Bleed’ radiators
Getting rid of air bubbles in radiators can help you save money as it ensures your home is heated more cost-effectively.
6. Check guttering
If you can safely reach it, clear leaves from the guttering to avoid water leaking onto walls and windows.
7. Tidy your garden
Cut back any branches and bushes that might break windows or bring down fences in stormy weather.
8. Get your boiler checked
An annual check by a qualified engineer does cost money but it will help you avoid any eye-watering emergency call-out charges in the middle of winter - and keep bills down as your system will run more efficiently.
9. Don’t stress your heating system
In winter it’s tempting to dry clothes quickly by putting them on the radiator. However, this prevents the heating system from properly warming your home, so you could be wasting money. As well as using a clothes airer, another cost-cutting tip is to run your machine on a low temperature wash. Try Ariel, which has a special formula that cleans brilliantly in cool water. When you consider that washing at 30°C can reduce the amount of energy used by up to 40%, the potential savings are clear.
10. MUM’S TIP – keep torches handy
Sarah says: ‘I keep a torch in my vegetable rack and one under my bed – in a power cut the last place I want to be searching is a cupboard under the stairs! The kitchen and bedroom are much more handy.’