Getting your home winter ready

It’s almost November now and the shops have been filled with Christmas cards for what feels like ever. Friends on Facebook have already begun the Christmas countdown, with some even asking if it’s too early to put their trees up yet – YES it is too early!

Although there are the annual complaints that Christmas seems to start earlier every year, the commercialism and the dilution of the festival, starting preparations early and planning ahead can save a lot of time, money and hassle. I admit to starting my Christmas shopping in the January sales most years, I squirrel away gifts purchased in the sales throughout the year as it makes it easier financially to spread the cost throughout the year.

The holiday season can be a rush with family commitments, Christmas shopping, plays and parties, as well as the risk of losing days if you go down with a cold or flu.  At such a hectic time, the last thing you need to deal with is household breakdowns. A spot of DIY now can help you winter-proof your home before the worst of the weather sets in. Some tasks you might want to get a professional for – such as checking loose slates or clearing guttering. Roof problems are daunting but getting these checked out now before heavy rain begins or even the snow – we’ve been a little spoilt this year with the lovely summer that the cold winter weather has us suddenly reaching into the back of the wardrobes for those winter coats and thicker duvets.

Other jobs are more easily tackled yourself.  Assess any outside paintwork and consider whether an extra coat might be beneficial, I recently made over our garden shed and turned it into a beach hut.  Exposed woodwork can rot in damp conditions – ensuring any wooden window frames or similar or properly sealed now can help you avoid dealing with rotten woodwork later on. Whilst outside, check any plumbing work which runs outside for external damage and consider how and if you could cover these. Repairs and planning now can help prevent frozen pipes later in the year.

We came back from holiday last week to discover we had no hot water, you don’t realise just how much you use it until you don’t have access to it. We had to call in the professionals and thankfully it was just a wire which had come lose in the airing cupboard. That was fixed but I am now sitting in a house with no heating, typing this wrapped in 2 blankets awaiting the professionals yet again as when they fixed the water something happened to the heating. I’m really hoping it is a quick and easy fix and won’t cost too much but with our luck recently I’m already thinking we can’t be that lucky again so have been looking around at prices of central heating pumps and other parts just in case we need to spend a bit to get it repaired.

You can also think about insulation both inside and outside your home. Fitting brush draught excluders to a letterbox is an easy way to reduce the chill from cold winter winds. Brush door seals can be fitted to the bottom of internal and external doors and can greatly reduce draughts around your home. If you have a glass front door like I have you may want to think about adding a heavy curtain across it to keep in some heat too.

Check your loft insulation now to lower your heating bills as the temperature drops. Many loft insulating materials can be simply rolled out or companies such as British Gas offer this for free so it’s worth looking into.

Aside from acting now to avoid winter weather problems around your home, it can also be a good time to tackle any DIY projects before the Christmas rush. This is especially true if you are likely to be hosting friends and family over the holiday season. Get as many household repairs dealt with now and you’ll feel much more relaxed when guests arrive, without any last-minute rush to fix minor problems before their stay. A stitch in time saves nine…

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