When you’ve spent the past few months renovating, decorating and upgrading your home to ensure you have a cosy and sophisticated haven in which to hibernate for the winter, it’s tempting to light the open fire, hunker down under a blanket and enjoy your handiwork at the first opportunity – but before you sit back and relax, it’s wise to ensure you’ve thought beyond the aesthetics alone.
The winter months can come with adverse weather, which can be harder on your home than usual, and mean they require some extra checks and tweaks as the temperatures begin to drop. Storms, snow and heavy rain all have the potential to wreak havoc if your home isn’t properly prepared to face the elements, so taking some time out to make sure you’ve got all of the relevant boxes ticked is essential.
Here are some of the most important things you can do now to set yourself up for a safe, warm and relaxing winter, and while they might not be the most exciting home-related tasks, you’ll thank yourself for doing them later.
Take out comprehensive boiler cover
We rely on our boilers even more during the winter months, requiring hotter water for showers and baths and heating our homes more often as the temperatures drop. But at this time of year, they tend to be more prone to unexpected failures, with frozen pipes a common issue that can leave you caught short when you need your boiler the most.
Add to that the other potential faults that can occasionally arise at any time of year, and it’s wise to ensure that you have comprehensive insurance cover so that you can get quick and efficient help should a problem come to light. Last winter, a number of Glasgow based boiler repair services reported a dramatic increase in the number of customers coming to them for help during particularly cold weather conditions – and without boiler cover, getting an engineer in to take a look could be more costly and inconvenient than it needs to be.
With a comprehensive plan, you’ll get access to a local gas safe engineer as required, with all parts, callouts and labour covered. You’ll also be entitled to an annual boiler service, which will ensure your boiler continues to perform at optimal levels and that any potential issues, like gas leaks, are detected early.
Of course, depending on the age of your current boiler, it may be more cost-effective to replace yours if it is repeatedly failing on you. Getting a new boiler may seem like a costly investment, but it will typically come with a strong warranty and will also offer some more modern energy saving features that will help you to reduce your carbon footprint and your energy bills in the long-run.
Check your fireplace and chimney
If you have an open fire, then it’s essential to check that your chimney is clear of any debris before lighting it for the first time this year. Birds will often build their nests on top of chimney pots, and along with stray leaves, can make for a fire hazard if not cleared away.
With this in mind, it’s wise to bring in a chimney sweep for a thorough clean at the beginning of the season. Cracks and creosote build-up can also present problems if left unchecked, so make sure to have them check for these if possible, too.
Check batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
The increased use of central heating in winter is responsible for around 27 per cent of structural fires at this time of year. Add to that the rise in the number of people using open fires and candles, and it stands to reason that we should be adding an extra layer of protection, just in case.
While every home should have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as a matter of course, it’s easy to forget about them if you don’t keep a note to do so – and in winter, it’s more important to ensure that they are functioning efficiently than ever.
Be sure to check that all of your detectors have working batteries in them and test them out to be sure that they are suitably responsive. If necessary, consider adding some more detectors throughout your home – one in every room, as well as each hallway, is advisable.
Assess your roof
Roofs are one of the first elements of a home to suffer in adverse weather conditions, and with an increased likelihood of storms, strong winds and heavy rain in winter, it’s important to make sure that yours is in optimal condition.
Have a roofer or a home maintenance professional come in to check for loose tiles or missing shingles, as not only can these leave the roof more vulnerable but could also result in leaks. While they’re up there, ask them to check for any broken seals around roof vents or the chimney, and have them replaced or repaired as quickly as possible to prevent problems later on.