Ice and snow can cause a lot of issues both inside and outside your home.
We have compiled a list of practical steps that you can take to protect and prepare your home for winter weather.
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Protect and prepare your home
Cold weather can cause countless issues both inside & outside the home so it's important to make sure your home is protected. From heating your home to ensuring your family's safety, we can help with our cold weather guide.
Insulate your pipes
Pipes, particularly outdoor pipes, can freeze or even burst in times of cold weather after a period without being used.
Before the cold weather hits, check any water pipes that run close to outside walls, as well as pipes in unheated crawl spaces or garages where they will get cold. These pipes are most at risk of freezing. On the pipes inside your home put fibreglass insulation between the pipes and the walls to help keep them warm and prevent freezing.
Pipes running through unheated spaces and outdoor areas should be covered with insulation. Preformed pipe sleeve insulation shaped to go right around a copper water pipe is an inexpensive option.
Add extra protection to external piping by insulating your outdoor tap at the same time as your pipes. Quick & easy to install & remove, it prevents freezing & weather damage.
Insulating your hot water tanks will help keep your water hot for that nice long bath after a day battling the elements. It will also protect your tank in extreme weather.
Invest in radiator foil
A significant amount of heat from a radiator is lost to the wall behind it. Suitable for all radiators, specialist radiator foil placed down the back of a radiator will reflect heat back into a room rather than letting it escape through the walls of a house, or becoming absorbed into the wall.
This form of insulation is especially important on outside walls where any heat loss will simply escape outside, particularly for homes without cavity wall insulation.
Draught proof your home
With current energy prices, if you're spending more on heating your home you want to be sure that none of the heat is escaping through cracks & gaps. Insulating your home will not only keep you and your home warm and healthy but will also help to keep your costs down.
- Fit foam or brush pile seals around windows and doors to close any gaps.
- Letter boxes are a major source of draughts so fit a seal, ideally with an internal and external cover.
- Make sure that your loft has at least 10-11 inches (270 mm) of insulation. Any home with 4 inches (100 mm) or less should have it topped up.
- If you have wall cavities, make sure that they are insulated too.
- Draw your curtains at dusk to help keep the heat generated inside your rooms.
An annual service is a good idea for your central heating system to ensure that it is working as efficiently as possible and reduce the chance of a breakdown at an inconvenient time. To make sure that your radiators are pumping out as much heat as possible bleed them every couple of months over the winter and remove any obstructions, such as heavy curtains or large furniture.
If you need heat fast but want to save energy, portable heaters are the smart option. They warm up quickly and save both cash and energy as you can heat specific rooms rather than the whole house.
If you're not sure what heater is right for your space, we can help with our portable heating buying guide.
Never use a charcoal or propane heater in an enclosed area without proper ventilation. Carbon monoxide can build up. Silent and odourless, it is deadly.
Home heating safety
During the winter gas boilers, fires, wood burners and other types of fuel-burning appliances are working constantly. Dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (CO) can build up as a result of the burning of any type of fossil fuel for an extended length of time.
As temperatures drop and the heating is turned up it is important to check that appliances are working properly and that flues and chimneys are not blocked. Carbon Monoxide (CO) can be emitted from inadequately maintained or badly fitted domestic heating appliances.
It's a good idea to fit a carbon monoxide alarm in any room that contains a fuel burning appliance. The sensing technology in a CO detector is different from that used in a smoke alarm; Carbon Monoxide detectors measure the amount of CO and the time of exposure. The alarm will sound before carbon monoxide levels become threatening for average, healthy adults.
Make your property safe after snow
Snow and ice can make the area around your home incredibly dangerous. The Met Office advise immediate action for even the smallest of snowfalls. If left alone, that layer of snow on your driveway or pathway could later melt and refreeze, leaving a sheet of ice which is a serious slipping hazard.
Areas you should think about clearing are the path to your front door, your driveway and the pavement in front of your house.
You can clear snow and ice from pavements yourself. Although it is an area of public use, it should be cleared safely and effectively. It's unlikely that you'll be sued or held responsible if someone is injured on a path or pavement if you've cleared it carefully.
Clearing snow & ice
Clear the snow and ice early in the day. It's easier to move fresh, loose snow rather than hard snow that has packed together from people walking on it. So if possible, start removing the snow and ice in the morning.
If you remove the top layer of snow in the morning, any sunshine during the day will help melt any ice beneath. You can then cover the path with salt before nightfall to stop it refreezing overnight.
Don't Forget Your Shrubs While Snow Shovelling
Keep an eye out for shrub branches that are groaning under the burden of excessive snow. To prevent such branches from snapping, gently brush the snow off them.
Top tips for shovelling snow
- Clear cars first: Brush the snow off of your car and then clear around the car. You don't want to finish clearing your driveway, and then have pile of snow slip from the roof of your car onto your newly clear driveway.
- Don't move snow twice: Carefully decide where you're going to put the snow you're clearing. You don't want to shovel heaps of snow to then find that it's blocking someone else's pathway.
- Help others if possible: If your neighbour will have difficulty getting in and out of their home, offer to clear snow and ice around their property as well. Check that any elderly or disabled neighbours are alright in the cold weather. If you're worried about them try contacting their relatives or friends, or if necessary the local council.