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Prepare your home for winter

Can you beat winter? As the temperature drops, it’s important to prepare your home for everything that the season will throw at it.

Watch our videos and follow these tips to get your home ready for the chilly winter months.

1. Protect your pipes

Use pipe insulation to cover pipes inside and outside your home, as well as in your loft and basement. This keeps them warmer for longer and prevents pipes from freezing and flooding your home. It could save you money on your energy bill as well as preventing emergency call outs.

Leaving your heating on low also helps to keep your house warm and cosy and prevent pipes from freezing.

If you’re going away for a while over winter, consider turning off your water and draining the system.

Keeping a close eye on your pipes in cold weather is always a good idea. You can usually spot a frozen pipe by the light coating of frost around it. The water from your taps may also slow down to a trickle or your drains start to smell. If this happens, don't worry, read our help page for advice on what to do.

2. Get insulated

Make sure your loft insulation is in good condition. It’s recommended that it’s around 10 inches thick – that's about the size of a big school ruler.

Apply draught excluders to doors to keep the cold out and close the curtains earlier to keep rooms warmer.

3. Look after your radiators

If your radiators aren’t heating all the way to the top, it’s likely they have air in them.

To remove the air, buy a radiator key from a DIY shop (about £1). Us this to open the little valve at the top, or on the side.

Hold a cloth next to the valve and listen out for the air hissing. As soon as you see a drip of water, close it up again.

If you’re feeling creative, you could also cover some card with foil and slide it behind your radiator. This will reflect heat back into the room, warming it up faster and making your home more efficient. For the less creative, you can also buy ready-made radiator reflectors.

4. Fix drips and clear drains

Replace washers and fix dripping taps to save water and stop yourself paying for water that you’re not using. If you need help with leaking taps, you could find a local plumber who could fix them for you.

Keep your drains and gutters clear from leaves to help prevent blockages, leaks and damage to your walls and roof.

5. Learn how to find and use your stop tap

Make sure you know where your inside stop valve is, as you may need to turn your water off quickly in an emergency. Most are under the kitchen sink.

Keep the name and number of a qualified plumber, so you can call them quickly if you need to. Also check your home insurance covers your pipes.

A boiler breaking down over winter can be a pain, let alone the cost of a plumber to fix it. Prevent breakdowns by getting a service every year.

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