As the days grow darker, and the temperature creeps into the minuses, we prepare ourselves for the change in weather.
Wrapping up warm, wearing extra layers, never forgetting our scarves and gloves.
But, whilst we’re so good at protecting ourselves from the winter weather, we can be forgetful of the need to protect our homes too!
Winter is one of the coldest, most rainy, and challenging seasons we face.
And, we would be remiss not to realise how our homes suffer in these colder months too.
When it comes to protecting your home in winter, there are lots of things we need to be mindful of. Some of these things can be simply carried out as home renovations, even! Whether it’s water damage, frozen pipes, cracks in the walls, or anything else.
You need to make sure that you are protecting your home so it can sustain the winter weather. But how do you do this?
If you don’t have the budget for a professional, or if you’re the type of person that likes to do it themselves, how do you keep your home protected against the weather?
Never fear. Below, is our tips and tricks on how to prepare yourselves during the winter.
1. Fixing Water Damage
In our homes, beneath our feet and climbing up our walls, lies a maze of pipes. They pump water throughout the day, giving us water for our taps, our showers, heating our homes.
It’s a very complex and very needed part of every house.
So, what do you do when you start to notice a leak?
How do you figure out where it’s coming from?
Water damage is a common issue when it comes to protecting your home as the days become rainier. Your home is designed to only withstand a certain amount of damage. And, like all things, our homes age.
Meaning that the likelihood of a leaky roof or broken pipe during the winter is all too common.
Firstly, you need to check your water meter. Switch off all the water in your home – including the washing machine and dishwasher – and check if your meter reading changes.
If it changes immediately, in spite of the water being off, then you’ve got a big leak that’s moving fast.
If the meter reading changes an hour or two after the water being off, then you’ve still got a leak. Only this one is smaller and slower moving.
Secondly, a leak can also be noticed by putting food colouring in your toilet tank. If the water in the toilet bowl turns coloured, that means there’s a leak causing water to travel in spite of the water being off.
Or, you can always go for the good old fashioned search for dark patches on the ceiling and changes in paint colour.
In any case, once you’ve done this, you need to call a plumber. You’ve made their job a lot easier by finding the source of the problem. Now, let them fix it.
2. Preventing Water Damage
But, whilst it’s all fine that you were able to find and fix the water damage, how do you prevent it from happening in the first place?
Quite simply, really.
One of the most important things to do is to take a look at the roof.
Whether it’s harsh winds blowing off tiles, or severe rain getting in through the cracks, you need to make sure your roof is nice and secure in winter.
So, take a trip on up into your attic. What do you see?
Is there any sagging? Can you spot dark places which look like water damage? How’s your insulation holding up?
It’s worthwhile to pick up some DIY roof repair tools like weather roof coating whilst you’re waiting for the roofer to come and take a proper look.
These solvents are fast drying and immediately waterproof. However, please be careful when going up there! Make sure you have a ladder and do so safely. Otherwise, just wait for the professional.
But, what else should you be looking for when it comes to preventing water damage?
Make sure that your gutters remain clear of leaves and waste. Keep an eye out for loose or damaged tiles. And, monitor your roof for moss growth.
3. Beware The Frozen Pipes, DIY Fixes
Speaking of water damage, how do you make sure that your pipes don’t freeze during the winter?
Frozen pipes can sometimes be overlooked when it comes to protecting your home, despite how common they are.
Simply put, frozen pipes occur when the temperatures drop and the water inside freezes. Which, in itself, isn’t a huge problem. The problem occurs when the pipes burst as they fill with ice.
This is what really costs you!
So how do you prevent this?
Essentially, try and keep the temperature in your house consistent. It may be tempting to turn the heating off or reduce the temperature in the night time when you’re tucked up in bed. But, it’s actually the night when your pipes are most at risk.
Having the heating off at night is likely to cause problems in the long run as this is when it’s coldest. Meaning, that it’s the night where the chances are highest of your pipes freezing.
By keeping the temperature consistent at all times, whilst it may mean a higher heating bill, will be a lot cheaper in the long run. Especially when you compare it to the potential cost of having to get new pipes fitted because your old ones burst.
Another tip, which always sounds counterproductive, is keeping your taps running slightly. Having your taps run on a drip is a great DIY fix to frozen pipes. Because, your pipes can’t freeze if there’s water always running through them!
4. Seal In The Cracks And Home Renovations
According to the Energy Trust of Oregon, cracks and gaps in your house let out the same amount of warm air as an open window.
Can you imagine? Going to bed at night with a window wide open?
When it comes to protecting your home for winter, one of the best things you should do is seal the cracks and gaps in your home.
Using something like poly foam caulk saver helps insulate these problem areas and keep in the warmth.
It saves you having to spend a lot on caulk – hence the name – and is great for sealing in large cracks around your home.
And, if you’re in need of filling in the smaller cracks, using a regular silicone caulk will do the job too. These are great for filling in gaps around smaller areas like windows, especially when they’re letting in both water and air. Spending a day going around the house and carrying out these small home renovations can make a huge difference.
Sealing in these cracks and gaps in your house will massively improve how warm your house gets, and thus will save you money on heating costs.
However, this doesn’t have to just be limited to gaps in the walls.
Using something like a draft stopper by your doors is another way of protecting your home without costing too much.
5. Insulate and Insulate
When people think of ways to protect their home against winter weather, they immediately think this means against rain and wind.
Which is true, of course. Rain and wind are probably your two biggest enemies during the winter. But, protecting your home also means against things like simply the cold.
And the way to do this? Insulation.
According to Energy Saving Trust, simply placing some insulation around your hot water cylinder will save you £20 a year. What’s more, that equates to saving you 150kg of Carbon Dioxide emissions!
There are lots of different types on insulation out there. Cavity wall insulation is a type of insulation which fits in between 2 walls: the inner and outer walls. If your home was built after the 1920s, then likely this is what you have. Solid wall insulation is for homes built prior to the 1920s, as these types of homes likely don’t have cavity walls.
Unfortunately, insulation costs a lot of money upfront. Costs can range from £5,000 upwards. However, this doesn’t mean it still shouldn’t be done.
The Energy Savings Trust claims that the average detached house will save £375 a year in heating costs once they have insulation. And the savings can be even higher too! As such, it’s likely that you’ll get your money’s worth in no time.
Because of this, you shouldn’t forget insulation when you’re finding ways to protect your home. Especially when, if you have a bit of knowledge and are quite the handyman, you can do these home renovations yourself.
Insulation protects your home from the harsh temperatures. And, is often considered the first line of defence in protecting your home against the cold winds and preventing future cracks in the walls.
Weatherproofing your home for the winter isn’t just a good idea, it’s essential.
It helps protect your home from the harsh weather, meaning that you won’t be paying the greater cost of repairs in the long run.
What’s more, a lot of these steps will also often save you money in terms of energy usage. Meaning, that there’s two reasons why you should be completing these tips.
If you’re the type of person who likes working with your hands, trying to fix the problems around your household yourself, and would much rather have a go at fixing the leaky sink than calling a plumber – have you ever considered that you may be in the wrong career?
At Careers In Trade, we have several different types of courses designed for beginners and adult learners. Whether it’s training to become an electrician, studying to be an engineer, or learning how to be a plumber; our courses are fun, engaging, and designed to be completed in your own time.
Check out our course pages here, and see how you can start your journey as a tradesman today!