Winter is coming, and with it cold weather that can wreak havoc on your home and garden. However, with careful management and advance planning, your property can survive unscathed as the cold kicks in.
From burst pipes to broken boilers, winter can be a tough time for our homes. Experts from MyBuilder.com, the reliable way for homeowners to find tradespeople, have put together some tips to keep your home and garden safe, secure, and cosy for when winter arrives.
Andy Simms, trade expert from MyBuilder.com, said that the key to keeping your home in top shape over winter is planning ahead.
“Now is the perfect time to prepare for the cold weather, while there is still some warmth in the air and ground, and we still have decent daylight.
“Cosy homes are lovely in winter - so it’s important to maintain your home and fix any issues now, before they become harder to manage. It’s also important to get your items such as boilers and alarms serviced, as well as clearing gutters and checking roofs.”
Tips to keep your home safe
Get your chimney swept
If you have a working fireplace, make sure you have your chimney swept annually. Availability of chimney specialists will be more limited as the weather gets colder, so get booked in fast to make the most of your fire - safely - this winter.
Check your roof for leaks
Loose or broken tiles, or other repairs that are needed, can cause intermittent leaks as the weather worsens. It’s vital to address these issues before damage occurs. Failure to do so can cause your insurance to be invalidated should you need to make a claim.
Bleed all your radiators
Bleeding your radiators will improve your home’s energy efficiency and ensure maximum performance from your heating system. While this is a job that can be done yourself, if you’re unsure it’s an inexpensive job for a plumber to do.
Get your boiler serviced
Our recent stats showed that 23 per cent of homeowners were delaying servicing their boiler. This is inadvisable, as a broken boiler will at best work inefficiently - and at worse could endanger lives. A properly working boiler will improve your home's efficiency and bring your energy bills down. Boiler services are normally around £80, but can save you much more.
Install roof, loft or wall insulation
Insulation being installed improves the heat retention in your home and keeps your energy bills down. Not only that, but it keeps your house cool through the summer, too, so it’s a year round investment.
Get double glazing or UPVC doors installed
Another way to increase the energy efficiency of your home is too have new windows and door installed - also a good investment as it will likely add value to your home
Examine your exterior walls and waterproof
Ask a builder to check your property for any external damage that may need repairing or waterproofing before winter
Tips to keep your garden lovely through winter
Hiring a gardener or handyperson to complete some simple maintenance will help prepare your garden for the colder months and improve the look of your garden. Items left on lawns can damage the grass, while piles of garden waste will be blown around.
Surprisingly, this time of year can be good to attack those weeds to prevent them appearing in spring. Gardeners tend to be less busy over winter, so it’s a smart investment to get one at this time of year.
Protect your plants
Wind, rain, frost, snow, hail - all the elements that need to be kept from damaging or killing off your plants, and which we see plenty of in winter. If possible, invest in a landscape gardener to build some appropriate cover for your plants - or manipulate natural shelter to give them the best protection. It’s also worth bringing in a gardener to dig up any bulbs which may perish if left in the garden over winter. These can then be kept to replant in spring.
Seek advice on suitable plants to keep your garden attractive over winter. Generally, evergreens are low maintenance and hardy enough to survive - and also ensures your garden has some greenery to enjoy during the colder months. These could also be used to provide natural protection for your plants that aren’t evergreen.
Protect outdoor taps and water features
Ice can become a real issue for outdoor taps, so make sure they are protected. Ensure outdoor taps are drained fully and provide cover to prevent them from freezing if you can. Adding pipe lagging is advisable and can be quickly done. Water features should also be fully drained and covered.
Plant for the birds
Think about the wildlife over winter and plant berry-rich trees and shrubs like rowan, hawthorn, guelder-rose and holly bushes. These look beautiful through winter and also provide shelter and food for birds.
Mulching is a very popular tactic used by seasoned professionals to safeguard your garden. Applying mulch to your garden creates a blanket to protect your garden and will reduce soil erosion that occurs following heavy rain. A gardener would be able to advise on how to carry this out and where to purchase the correct materials.