Prepare your home for cold weather and freezing temperatures
When the temperature plummets and it's cold and frosty outside, it's time to turn up the heat inside. You don't always have to literally turn up your thermostat, we have lots of ideas and advice on how you can stay warm at home. Whether you want some quick suggestions on ways to stay warm when the weather is unexpectedly cold, or if you want to future-proof your home insulation, we have something for you.
Here are our handy tips for dealing with the winter weather.
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Cold weather's coming - how to stay warm at home
When cold weather is on the way, there are lots of things you can do to keep your home warm and toasty. The tips below are ways that you can quickly prepare you home when it's freezing outside to help you and your family stay cosy.
Ensure that your radiators are pumping out as much heat as possible by bleeding them every couple of months over winter. Remove any obstructions that may be in the way of heat coming out of the radiator, such as heavy curtains or furniture.
Having issues with your radiators? Don’t fret – our handy article on how to fix problems with radiators will take you through what to do.
A significant amount of heat escapes from your home through the wall behind your radiators. Adding a radiator foil will reflect heat back into a room rather than letting it disappear through the walls or become absorbed into it.
Radiator foils (also known as radiator reflectors) are especially important on outside walls and for homes without cavity wall insulation.
If you need heat fast and/or you don't have radiators, portable heaters are a smart option. They warm up quickly and you can heat up specific rooms rather than the whole house.
If you're not sure which heater is right for your space, we can help with our Buyer’s guide to heaters. We offer a range of heaters including convector (pictured), fan and oil-filled.
Timers & temperature monitors
Using a timer to manage when your heaters are on, and what the temperature is at home, helps you to optimise your heating efficiency.
Timers are an effective way to use portable heaters. You can programme them to come on just before you are getting up or getting home so that it has time to warm up.
The Gro-egg (pictured) is a temperature monitor designed to keep an eye on the temperature in a child's room to make sure it doesn't drop too low. The Gro-egg turns blue when the temperature drops to a certain point, telling you it's time to turn the heating up. Although they are designed for nurseries, they would work well in any room to give you an indication of when you need to turn the heat up.
Having rugs, throws and blankets around your living space and bedrooms is a fantastic way to warm up quickly without having to turn up the heating. If you have wood, laminate or tiled floors, a rug takes the chill off the floor and helps to keep the heat in the room better. We have a wide range of sizes and designs of rugs to suit your space.
Throws and blankets are great to have to hand to pull over you when it starts to feel a bit chilly. We love this grey knitted throw, perfect for snuggling up underneath.
Most of us lower our heating overnight when we are sleeping. With plummeting temperatures, make sure you stay warm and cosy in bed at night with a winter weight duvet. We recommend either a 10.5 tog or 13.5 tog to keep you perfectly snuggly.
Curtains, blinds & shutters
Cold air and draughts can come in around window panes. By adding curtains, blinds or shutters, and closing them when the weather is cold, you can help stop the cold air coming into a room.
If you go for curtains, the heavier the curtain, the better it's insulating effect. In general lined curtains offer greater insulation that non-lined. We love these thick, chenille curtains (pictured) for a stylish design that is thick enough to protect you against cold and draughts from windows.
Chimney draught excluders
Chimneys can create draughts in a room so when your fireplace isn’t in use, block it with a chimney draught excluder. This is a piece of wool or fabric with a handle that you place inside the chimney cavity to stop cold air coming down into a room.
Preparing in advance - getting a house ready for freezing weather
Cold weather can cause all sorts of issues both inside and outside your home. But by preparing for the cold snap in advance, you can make sure that you stay comfy and warm, as well as protect your property from damage. Ensuring that your home is properly insulated will help to keep your family stay snug all winter and could keep your energy costs down. Below are some of our suggestions for ways to effectively prepare your home for cold weather.
Most of us rely heavily on our central heating. An annual service is a good idea to make sure that the system is working as efficiently as possible, and will reduce the chance of it breaking down. Book it in before the weather gets too bad.
Thermostats and central heating controls are an effective way to manage the temperature in your house. We have a range of digital, analogue and smart thermostats, timers and controls to choose from.
Having a Smart thermostat in your home will help you to manage the temperature in your home most effectively. Smart thermostats allow you to remotely control your central heating via an app on your smartphone. For more information on what smart thermostats do and how they can help you manage your heating, read our Buyer's guide to a smart home.
You can also add thermostatic radiator valves to your radiators. Thermostatic radiator valves (or TRVs) are self-regulating valves fitted to hot water heating system radiators to control the temperature of a room. They are a great way to optimise the way that a radiator works.
If your loft isn’t properly insulated, you could be losing a lot of heat from the top of your home. Whether you choose rolls of loft insulation or insulated loft boards, these products are designed to minimise the amount of warm air escaping from your loft. Read our Buyer’s guide to loft insulation to choose the right option for your home. If you fancy taking on this project yourself, our article on how to insulate your loft will take you through installation.
When the cold weather arrives pipes can freeze or even burst, particularly those outdoors. Pipes running through unheated spaces and outdoor areas should be covered with insulation in order to prevent this. Pre-formed pipe sleeve insulation shaped to go right around a water pipe is an effective and easy to install option.
Check any water pipes that run close to outside walls, as well as those in crawl spaces or garages – these are the pipes most at risk of freezing. Put fibreglass insulation between the pipes and the walls of indoors pipes to help keep them warm and prevent freezing. You should also add extra protection to external piping by insulating your outdoor tap at the same time as your pipes. This will prevent freezing and 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.
Heat escapes through cracks and gaps around your home. Add draught excluders to your internal and external doors and your letterbox to prevent warmth getting out, as well as cold air getting in.
Fitting foam, brush pile seals or weather strips around windows and doors will help close any gaps and keep the heat in. As soon as it’s dusk, draw your curtains to help keep all the heat inside your home.
For more help on insulating your home, read our helpful guide which is full of advice and tips on keeping the warm air in and the cold air out of your house.