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10 ways to prepare your home for the winter

With a wintery spell predicted for many parts of the country in the next few days, here are some handy ways to keep your family safe and warm when it’s cold outside.

  1. Make a salt or grit store
    It’s a great idea to keep a stock of salt or grit to spread on your path when it’s icy. Putting  down some salt or grit can make simple tasks in the winter much easier and far less dangerous.
  2. Keep your boiler on
    When the weather is cold, it’s a good idea to heat your home for one hour every day, even when you’re away. It helps keep things running smoothly and it’s easy to do from your boiler timer. Each boiler is different, but you’ll find out how to set yours with the manual that came with your unit or if you search for your model’s instructions online.
  3. Check radiators and storage heaters
    Turn your heating on to 20-23 degrees and ensure the radiators heat up.  If any radiators or controls are not working properly, get in touch as soon as possible.
  4. Service your boiler
    Make sure your boiler has its annual service by a GasSafe Registered expert and is working efficiently.
  5. Fix draughts
    Blocking draughts is a cheap and effective way to keep your home warm. There are several ways to fix draughts, including the faithful old door sausage, heavyweight curtains and draught proof strips around door and window frames.  Make sure you aren’t blocking up any vents though as these are vital to stop condensation within the home.
  6. Protect your pipes
    Unprotected pipes are prone to freezing over the winter and can burst. Any external water taps should be covered to protect them from frost, and you could turn off any taps that you will not need during the winter months.  Pipe lagging can be brought from Homebase, B&Q, Screwfix and many other hardware stores.
  7. Find your stopcock and know how to use it
    Your stopcock is the connection between your home and the mains water supply. Make sure you know the location of your stopcock can be turned off in an emergency. It’s normally under your sink. Look for a tap or a lever on your copper pipes and turn it clockwise to switch it off. If your pipes do freeze, locate the frozen pipe and apply heat to melt the blockage – a hair dryer or hot water bottle works best. 
  8. Test smoke alarms and CO detectors
    All homes should be fitted with a smoke alarm and Carbon Monoxide (CO) detector. These play an important role in keeping your family safe so it’s worth checking the batteries, and cleaning them regularly with a vacuum cleaner to ensure they are in good working order. 
  9. Sweep your chimney
    If you have an open fire or wood burning stove, it’s important to have your chimney swept annually and don’t forget to use a fire guard.
  10. Drainage and gutters
    It’s important to clear the drains and gutters of leaves regularly to prevent any blockages building up. If you live in a block of flats, this is Hyde’s responsibility so please notify us if you think there is a blockage.

Stay well this winter

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