As the clocks turn back this weekend and the nights draw in, thoughts will undoubtedly turn to winter festivities. With Bonfire Night, cosy nights in and Christmas celebrations to look forward to, the last thing you need dampening your winter cheer is draughty windows, clogged guttering, or even worse - an expensive emergency call-out to deal with unforeseen repairs that need immediate attention.
New research from E.ON shows that three in five Brits don't prepare their homes for winter, despite the majority (77%) having previously suffered from some kind of seasonal problem in their home. The lack of preparation can leave people on the back foot, with nearly a quarter (22%) admitting to having used an emergency call out for installing loft insulation, clearing guttering and re-pressurising the boiler - spending on average £114 each time.
The biggest challenges faced by homeowners at this time of year include draughty windows and doors, radiators failing to heat up and boilers losing pressure. Issues such as these can feel like a really big deal at the time, but actually, the majority can be solved quickly and efficiently (and importantly, a lot more cost effectively) once you know how.
Plus, it's not just about saving money on the work itself - implementing energy efficient measures such as loft insulation and blocking leaks from draughty windows and doors will help you use less energy in the longer term too.
When getting your home ready for winter the 5 P's 'prior planning prevents poor performance' really ring true. So as the colder weather starts to set in, follow these DIY tips and your home will be ready for winter in no time.
My top 5 tips for preparing your home for winter:
1. Loft insulation is one of the most effective ways to stop heat escaping from your home and reduce energy costs. The most well known and most inexpensive type of insulation is Rockwool which can be rolled between the loft and ceiling joists and can be easily installed without the need for professional help. You should aim to achieve a minimum depth of 270mm. If you require storage space in your loft, this is a fantastic opportunity to insulate and board out the loft. This is not only another great way of trapping the heat into your home but it will also give you a lot more storage space.
2. A typical home can lose about a third of its heat through uninsulated walls, so it's worth having walls properly insulated. There are a number of types of insulation that can be used, depending on the type and age of the property and the amount of money you have available. Low income households may be eligible for free insulation .
3. Insulating hot water pipes with foam insulation sleeves can save energy by cutting the need to reheat water and prevent pipes from freezing. Fitting a cylinder jacket on the water tank can reduce heat loss and cut a household's gas bill by around 5% .
4. Draught-proofing your home to stop heat escaping is one of the cheapest and most efficient ways to save energy and money in your home. By filling gaps around windows, doors, pipes, loft hatches and even keyholes and letterboxes with draught-proofing supplies from local DIY stores you'll prevent warm air escaping, meaning you'll use less energy to heat your home. It's a good idea to also ensure all doors and windows are closing properly and that they have the correct draught excluding strips fitted.
5. Bleeding radiators to let trapped air escape will ensure that your heating system is working as efficiently as possible. If rooms aren't heating up or if radiators feel cold at the top and hot at the bottom this could be a sign that your radiators need bleeding. Bleeding your radiators is something that can easily be done without the need for a professional.
1. E.ON is helping people who are on certain benefits and own or privately rent their home to get free loft and cavity wall insulation and funding towards a new boiler through the Affordable Warmth Scheme. This is part of ECO, a Government led scheme helping people heat their homes for less. For terms and conditions and more information, visit http://eonenergy.com/for-your-home/saving-energy/need-little-extra-help/home-improvements
2. Source for data: E.ON