How to keep your house safe and warm this winter – home or away

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It’s getting to that time of year where we all want to turn up our heating to stay warm.  But simply cranking up the heating can cost a fortune.  Check out JustAnswer’s handy tips for keeping your home warm and waterproof this holiday season – WITHOUT breaking the bank.

  1. Check for draughts.  Go around your house checking windows and doors for gaps and cold breezes.  These really drain your heating and force it to work extra hard to attempt to keep up. Draughts can quite often be easily fixed with excluders from hardware shops.  You don’t want to cut out all draughts – houses need ventilation to prevent condensation, damp, and mold – but you need controlling air flow.  There’s an initial outlay, but the Energy Saving Trust suggests that fitting draught excluders could save you up to $50 per year – plus another 10% off your heating bill.  
  2. Do you have insulation?  Houses lose large chunks of heat through their roofs.  Can loft insulation reduce this considerably and according to Which?  Magazine could save you nearly $250 each year.  Blanket-type insulation can be fitted easily with DIY.  There are some suppliers who offer discounted deals on insulation if you fit certain criteria.
  3. Clean out and maintain your gutters.  Every year gutters get cluttered up with leaves, moss, twigs and other gifts of nature.  If you don’t clear them, rain and water can be thrown where you don’t want them, causing water ingress or slow damage to the structure of your home.  Check fittings while you’re doing this – a loose fitting can mean a broken gutter when winter storms come barrelling in.
  4. Keep pests such as mice out. In colder weather small animals move into houses for warmth and food.  Try to block up any gaps and make sure you don’t leave food or crumbs around. Mice and other vermin can bring diseases into your home – they can even chew through wires!
  5. Stock up on basic supplies and prep your tools and equipment.  Before it gets cold, stock up on grit and salt for helping you get out when snow or ice comes along.  Get your car cold weather kit together – a jacket, scraper, antifreeze, boots.  If you live in an area with lots of power cuts, stock up on candles and matches. Store your summer tools such as lawnmowers, put away clean and well-oiled ready for use next year, and get out winter tools – shovels or other equipment.  This will prevent you from returning to a rusted heap next spring, and save money on continually replacing old tools.

What if you’re going away for the holiday season?  We’ve still got you covered!  Keep your home safe with a few basic tips.

  1. Keep your place looking occupied.  Get light switches on timers, or ask a neighbor to collect your post or draw curtains for you, and keep a general eye on the place while you’re away.
  2. Turn off your water supply and drain down your system.  If pipes freeze and your water are on, you could end up with extensive damage.
  3. If your house tends to damp, consider leaving a dehumidifier on; leave doors open to encourage air flow around the house.  If you can leave your heating system on, set it to just above frost setting – you don’t want to keep the house warm unnecessarily, but preventing freezing will help keep your home in good condition.
  4. If you’re leaving the electrics on, reduce the risk of fires by unplugging everything you’re not using.
  5. Make sure gas is turned off at the mains.  

With our tips and hints, you can protect the value of your home – your biggest asset – this winter.

Have further questions? Get help from Home Improvement Experts, 24/7.


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