During the winter months, the freezing conditions and wet weather can bring along a whole range of problems for your home. From damp and condensation to an increase in energy bills, these tips will help you prevent damage and potentially costly repairs to your home and reduce energy bills, so you can enjoy those warm cosy nights in without having to worry about the  potential damage winter can cause to your property.


How do I prevent frozen pipes during freezing temperatures?

The cold weather may freeze the water inside your pipes and can cause them to burst. This can be quite costly to repair, so it’s best to follow these tips to ensure your pipes do not freeze:

  •  Insulate your pipes – It’s important to insulate any external pipes with weather-resistant installation and any pipes inside your home that are in unseated spaces such as, lofts and garages. This can also help to reduce your energy bills by £50-£300 per year, according to the Government website.
  •  Keeping your heating at a constant low temperature (above 4°C), even if you are away from home, will ensure your pipes are warm enough to not freeze.

 If your pipes are frozen it’s best to gently heat the frozen sections with a hot water bottle or hair dryer. Do not attempt to unfreeze them by turning on your central heating as this could cause the pipes to burst.


Find out where your stop cock is


It is important to know where your stop cock is so you can quickly turn off the water supply in your home. If your pipes ever become frozen, the quicker you turn off the water supply at the stop cock, the better. This can prevent your pipes from bursting and will ensure this does not cause any flooding. The stop cock is usually located under the sink in your kitchen however, this isn’t always the case so it’s best to make sure you know where it is prior to a problem like this arising.  


Check your gutters


As winter brings along more windy weather your drains and gutters are more likely to become blocked with leaves and debris. If this happens, the water will go back into the guttering and will begin to leak into the sides and roof of your house which can cause damp and mould to appear in your property.


How do I prevent damp and mould from appearing in my property?


  • Leave windows open where possible – Ventilation is key and is one of the best ways to prevent damp from appearing in your property. Although it may sound silly to leave windows open in the winter, having windows open every now and then (especially whilst cooking, showering, or bathing) means moisture in the property can escape through the windows, rather than settling on your walls.
  • Get a dehumidifier – Using a dehumidifier will extract the moisture in the air and store it in a tank.
  •  Dry clothes outside where possible – Wet clothes contain more moisture than you may think, so if you are drying clothes on radiators or using a clothes maiden make sure they are in a room with plenty of ventilation. If using a dryer make sure that it is a condensing dryer, which will collect moisture from the wet clothes in a container located in the dryer itself. This tank collects the water and when it’s full you simply empty it. It’s also good to keep in mind that, even in winter, a sunny dry day can still dry your clothes.
  • Heating your property – On a cold winter’s day, it’s best to keep the indoor temperature to at least 18 °C. Having your thermostat on this temperature will ensure your property remains warm enough for you and surfaces such as walls in your home will not be cold enough to create condensation, as damp happens when warm air hits cold surfaces. Having your home at a constant temperature can help keep the cost of your energy bills down to as your boiler does not have to use more energy warming your home from a cold temperature.


Get your boiler serviced


To ensure your boiler is safe and working efficiently, it’s always best to service your boiler annually. There is less chance of a problem occurring with your boiler if it is regularly serviced and since the busiest time for boiler engineers is during the winter months, the last thing you want is for your boiler to breakdown. Your boiler service should be carried out with your Gas Safety Inspection.


Bleed Radiators


When the cold weather begins, and you need to start using your radiators again. You may find that your radiators are hot at the bottom and cold at the top. If this happens it means your radiators need bleeding. It’s quick and easy to do and all you’ll need is a radiator bleed key and a cloth. Once you have these tools, you can follow these simple steps:

  • Turn off your central heating and allow radiator to cool
  • Locate the bleed valve on the radiator
  • Hold the cloth underneath the bleed valve (to catch any escaping water)
  • Insert the bleed key into the valve and turn it anti-clockwise. At this point you will hear a hissing sound
  • When the hissing stops turn the key back again.
  • Repeat this process on any remaining radiators that require bleeding
  • Turn your central heating back on and your radiators should work properly

Doing this will ensure your radiators run more efficiently and can also save you money on your energy bills!