GTH’s Advice on Getting Ready for the Chill

2017 saw one of the coldest winters for decades, causing an increase in burst pipes, boiler break downs, and power outages which caused a pretty bleak Christmas for many households up and down the country. And with 2018 threatening to be colder, maybe it’s time to ask yourself; what can you do to get winter ready?

De-gunk Your Gutters and Drains 
During the autumnal fall our gutters and drains are invaded by leaves. After taking up residency, they’ll decompose causing mould which could spread into your home. With rainfall becoming the norm once again, the blockages will slowly prevent water leaving your home. So watch out when you’re in the shower, as it might just turn into a bath.

Take a step ladder and bucket, or a pressure hose if you have one, and clean out the gutters and drains regularly before winter hits to prevent the bacteria and blockages. Seal up any cracks in the tubes too, as leakages could lead to a build-up of surface water that struggles to reach the drain.

Protect Your Pipes
Frozen and burst pipes are fast becoming one of the major issues that surrounds the season. Winter-sun getaways and family visits away often leave homes empty for a period of time. However, on your return, you may be in for a nasty surprise when you turn on the tap for that cuppa.

Frozen pipes will stop your flow completely, leaving you with no water; hot or cold. Here are some steps you can take to prevent frozen pipes:

  • Insulate exposed pipes in the attic, which are at risk of causing internal flooding if they burst.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate to the water pipes. 
  • Keep your central heating on a timer, maintaining a constant temperature of 12 – 15֯C.

If you do return to frozen pipes, be sure to thaw them cautiously. A burst pipe can spill over 10,000 litres a day if gone unchecked. Take some warm, soaked towels and wrap the pipes to slowly thaw them. Once done, gently begin to heat your water to shift any remaining blockages out of the way. After this, go and have that cuppa.

Check That Boiler
USwitch found that UK households spent over £700 million on unexpected boiler issues in 2017, and with the average repair costing £245, it is clear how damaging busted boilers can be.

Money aside, we’ve all been there when our boilers threaten us with the cold. Call outs can be at a premium over the winter period, due to the high demand; but booking in an early check-up can save you some extra pennies and give you some peace of mind in the run up to Christmas.

Insulate and Redecorate
Insulating your homes properly are key to retaining the heat in your home. Here are some steps to take:

  • Closing your curtains for longer, especially while the heating is on. This helps to keep out the drafts and to keep in the heat.

  • Clear the space around your radiator. Whether this is shifting the sofa a few inches or moving the boxes stacked up in the back room, keeping the radiators clear means your house will warm up faster. 

  • Insulate the attic. It’s a known fact that a lot of the heat in a house is lost through the chilly attic, but did you know it’s actually a huge 25% of your heating that disappears. Laying out insulation on the floors and walls helps massively to retain the heat in your home.

  • Block any noticeable drafts. There will always be those pesky breathes of chill that sneak their way into the house, but for those that remind you winter is outside, be sure to block them up. You can do this by covering any cracks in the walls and floors, and re-sealing the window  panes.

Wrap Up
And after all of this, you can sit down with a hot chocolate and begin to watch the Christmas classics back to back. But if that winter nip gets you reaching for the thermostat, ask yourself, do I need to turn the heating on yet?

One of the simplest ways to help get your home ready is by getting yourself winter ready. Are your socks too thin? Have you got a jumper on? Are you wrapped in a blanket? If your answers are no, then maybe it’s not time to turn the heat up just yet.

Don’t forget that winter isn’t just for Christmas, and though the festivities keep us warm through the record breaking cold weathers, we will still have a few more months of the frost to deal with before spring peers its head through the clouds. Regular maintenance will help prevent disasters from making the winter seep into our homes. The key is, prevention, not remedy.