Ten tips to be ready for winter weather

Make sure your home is ready for cold weather this winter. Follow these 10 simple steps to be prepared:

Insulate your pipes

Cover your water pipes – including those outside your home, in the loft and unheated rooms – with a foam tube called lagging. It’s easy to fit without tools, available from most DIY stores and relatively cheap. This could save you huge costs and upset by preventing your pipes from bursting and flooding your home.

If you cover your hot water pipes while you’re at it, you’ll keep your water warmer for longer, which will help to reduce the cost of your energy bill.

Find your stop tap

Make sure you know where your stop tap is (most are under the kitchen sink), as you may need to turn your water off quickly in an emergency. Remember ‘right for tight, left for loose’.

Keep your home warm

Keep the warm in and the cold out. This is as easy as closing your curtains before it gets dark to stop warmth escaping and putting draught excluders on doors.

Cover a thin sheet of card with tinfoil and slide it behind your radiator. This will reflect heat back into your room, meaning it warms up faster and retains more heat – making your home more efficient.

Check loft insulation

Check your loft insulation is thick and in good condition. This helps to keep your home warmer and may also reduce your energy bill. It’s recommended that blanket style insulation (glass or mineral wool) should be 250 to 270mm thick in your loft. You can also leave your loft hatch open when it’s cold to let the warm air circulate around your home.

Bleed your radiators

If your radiators aren’t heating to the top, it’s likely they have air in them. To fix this, buy a radiator key from a DIY shop (about £1) and open the little valve at the top. Listen out for the air hissing and as soon as you see a drip of water, close it up again.

Replace washers in dripping taps

If your taps are dripping, you should change your washer as drips can freeze. Fixing a leaky tap can also save up to one litre of water a day.

Clear drains and gutters

Keep your drains and gutters clear from leaves. This will help to prevent blockages. This can also stop leaks and damage to your walls and roof.

Service your boiler

Make sure you get your boiler serviced regularly (about once a year). If your boiler breaks down it can be expensive and disruptive.

Always be prepared

Make sure you have the name and number of a qualified plumber to hand so if your pipes do freeze or burst, you can call them straight away. Also check your home insurance covers things like your pipes. If it doesn’t, consider taking out home emergency cover like HomeServe.

Always keep your heating on low

When you’re out of the house or on holiday, leave your heating on a low setting. It will help keep your house warm and prevent pipes from freezing. If you’re going away for a while, consider turning off your stop tap and draining the system so there’s no water in the system to freeze.