Landlords need to prepare for Winter
Have you seen the gentle sprinkle of snowfall outside your window? Have you felt the persistent chill that sneaks into your home when you forget that you’ve left your window open?
A fact that may be of some concern to UK energy consumers. We’ve all heard about the skyrocketing prices of wholesale gas and the energy price increases that householders have felt in the latter half of 2021.
And all of this pales in comparison to the costs you’ll incur if something should go awry with your new boiler.
But destiny favours the prepared, and here we’ll look at 7 steps you can take to prepare your home for winter and save yourself from unnecessary costs.
Why is it essential to prepare your home for winter?
For starters, without proper preparation, you’ll find that your home may be much colder, draughtier, and more uncomfortable than it should be.
Inevitably, you’ll have to turn up the heating to compensate, and that will drive your energy bills higher.
What’s more, the cold weather places more significant strain on your boiler and pipes. So, unless they’re winter-ready, you could face something as expensive and disruptive as a boiler failure or a burst water pipe.
Something that no household needs over the festive season!
How to prepare your home for the cold months?
Fear not. Often all that’s needed to protect your home and prevent your bills from skyrocketing in the winter months is a little planning and diligence.
Here are 7 steps that all households should take to prepare their homes for the winter.
Test your heating system
It’s a good idea to test your heating system before you need to rely on it heavily. Then, when the system is cool, turn off your hot water and set the thermostat to zero.
Next, turn on your boiler and turn up your thermostat. Listen out for the sound it makes when it fires up.
Wait around 10 minutes, then check every radiator in your home to ensure that they are all heated up evenly. Next, return the thermostat to zero and turn off the central heating on the boiler unit. If it turns itself off, your boiler is fully functional.
Service your boiler
Annual boiler servicing is crucial. Not only does it help to ensure that your boiler is operating as well and efficiently as possible, but it’s also essential for the safety of your household.
An unserviced boiler is more likely to develop faults and may burn fuel less efficiently. This can not only increase your heating bills but can also carry a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Many boiler cover plans include annual servicing and saving on the cost of repairs if something goes wrong.
Insulate your pipes
In extreme cold, water can freeze in your pipes. The ice in your pipes may then expand, causing them to rupture. This can make for a very costly and disruptive repair.
So, make sure that you insulate your pipes and any gaps left in areas where your pipes go through a wall. You can use insulating strips or foam sleeves. Getting cavity wall insulation can also help to protect your pipes. If you have a garden tap, make sure the water flow is shut off and that the tap is left to run dry to protect the pipe from the cold weather.
Inspect your fireplace
If you have a coal or log burning fire, you may want to give this a quick inspection before winter settles in. Be sure to check for cracks, gaps, or other signs of wear in the interior lining (the firebox).
Look out for smoke stains on the ceiling. These can indicate a gap somewhere between the hearth and the firebox, which is pretty common in older properties.
Insulate the windows
Your windows can be a significant source of heating loss. Even if you have double glazed windows, be sure to insulate your windows and frames by checking the sealant around the window frame and replacing it where needed.
Rope caulk can be used to fill in cracks, while vinyl tape can be an excellent way to insulate window trims in the colder months temporarily. You can even apply a transparent film to your windows, shrink-wrapped onto the panes using a hairdryer.
Check your roof
Did you know that around 25% of your home’s heating can escape through your roof? This is because loose roof tiles can be a source of both heat loss and moisture ingress.
Both of which can cause problems in the winter months. Before the winter sets in, you may want to inspect your roof and attic. Look for any signs of water ingress, and check for any damage to your insulation, such as rodent damage or puddles of water.
Clear out gutters and downspouts
During the autumn months, it’s common for gutters to get clogged with falling leaves.
Be sure to clean these out of gutters and downspouts before winter sets in. Otherwise, water will collect and pool in your guttering. If this is allowed to freeze, it can cause heaving and cracks that could cause serious damage.
How can this lower your energy bills?
Carrying out the steps above can improve your home’s insulation and target common sources of heat loss in winter. This, in turn, could lead to savings on your energy bills.
Something that’s more important than ever in the current energy market crisis. Wholesale gas prices have climbed by 250% this year, leading to substantial increases in heating costs. So, any step you can take to reduce heat waste and use less gas is worth considering.
Should you check your energy plan?
How long has it been since you last switched energy suppliers or plans? After your fixed-rate energy tariff expires, you’re typically placed on the supplier’s standard variable tariff, which is usually its most expensive.
Even in the current market, there’s an opportunity to save on your energy by switching tariffs. Check your tariff and carry out a price comparison before the cold months to see cheaper deals available in your area.
Author: Chloe Davis
Date: 02 December 2021
Join the British Landlords Association, membership is only £69.95 for a 1-year membership. Free direct access to a lawyer when you need advice and free documents well as about 40 products and services. Join now.
Our Top read Blogs: