Property MOT – Get Ready for Winter

It’s hard to even begin to imagine Winter is on its way, especially given the warm summer we have had of late. However, as summer is rapidly passing us by, now it the time to check your property is ready for the winter.

We all expect a sharp rise in our bills come the winter – notably caused by needing to heat our home through the unpredictable weather. But, if we are not careful and are unprepared, these bills could continue to mount to include fixing burst pipes, damp caused by crumbling masonry or roofing and wasted energy caused by bad insulation. Before the bad weather truly takes hold, take a look at our list of suggestions and give your home a full MOT so you can avoid these expensive pitfalls.

One the of the cheapest and easiest ways to reduce your bills is to make sure your home is properly insulated. For newer homes, cavity wall insulation is a very good investment. As the weather cools outside, the heat from your room is naturally attracted to these cooler areas, resulting in rapid heat loss and higher bills. Insulating your walls can really make your rooms feel warmer, without adjusting the thermostat. Not all homeowners have cavity walls, so loft insulation is imperative. In an uninsulated home, a quarter of the heat is lost through the roof. As well as being very easy and cheap to install (even if you do not feel able to do so a qualified professional will be able to complete the work quickly), it also makes your home greener, reducing its carbon footprint. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that if everyone in the UK installed 270mm loft insulation, we could save nearly £500 million – and 2.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year, the equivalent of taking nearly 100,000 cars off the road. You can make back your investment in just a few years by enjoying lower bills.

Drafts too can really effect how efficiently we heat our homes. Making sure you do some draft proofing around windows and doors before winter sets in can make a real difference for the cosiness of your room, as can drawing the curtains at dusk. Consider having curtains that are changeable with the seasons – a light linen in the summer and a more heavy fabric in the winter for optimal warmth.

Whilst an expensive option, if you are planning on staying in your property for many years to come, it is worth looking into the installation of double or even triple glazing. Excellent for reducing heat loss (and minimising noise disturbance if you live in a busy area), double glazing can save you lots of money each year. Depending on the size of your property and the energy rating of your windows, installing double glazing can save you anywhere between £65 – £175 a year. Having double glazing also has the other benefits of reducing your carbon footprint, reduced condensation build up on the inside of windows and giving you some peace and quiet. Each window is assessed based on its energy efficiency (by looking at both the frame and the glass), so try to buy the highest rated you can afford.

Checking your masonry over is an essential part of any property MOT. Cracks that did not cause a problem in the warmer months can worsen and cause lasting, expensive damage if left unchecked. As well as causing damp (damaging your interior decoration) cracks which allow water in are particularly dangerous in the winter when this water freezes, expands and makes any crack much worse. On the brightest day possible, try and assess all of your walls and assess the roof for any missing slates. Any cracked or broken slates could allow damp to seep into your roof timbers, causing damage that will be far more expensive to treat than the broken slate.

One thing that people often miss is checking their pipes over for leaks. Whilst it is a tiresome job, it is far easier to stem a leak before freezing weather when the real damage could be done and pipes can burst. Pipes can burst for a combination of reasons, such as their age and wear and tear, but they are particularly vulnerable from bad weather. It is imperative that you check the state of your pipes and make an assessment of their health before the temperatures really drop.

With just a few simple steps, you can help to insure that the winter months cause as little damage as possible – leaving you with peace of mind as the festive season begins and family descend on your home.

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