Energy Saving

Energy Saving, Home and Garden

How To Get Your Home Ready for Winter

get your house ready for winter

Looking to get your home ready for winter? I’ve got a heap of ideas for you to keep warm and save money on energy bills.

To capitalise on a popular phrase – winter is coming! It’s always good to be prepared. By getting your home ready for winter, means you’ll be able to save energy all winter long for just some initial elbow-grease. And saving energy means a reduced carbon footprint and more money in your pocket. It’s a win-win all around!

Right now, we’ve been beavering away getting our old house ready for winter.

How To Get Your Home Ready For Winter

If you are looking to do the same, here are ten easy ideas for you on how to get your home ready for the cold months ahead.

how to get your home ready for winter

Seal Up The Cracks

Cracks and gaps can let in a tremendous amount of cold air. And likewise, they can suck warm air out of your home.

Our backdoor is the original wooden door that was installed when our house was built 100 years ago.  Over the years it has been sanded down and sanded down. It’s at the point where there are some pretty big gaps where the cold wind just howls through.  When funds allow we will replace the door.  For now, I opt for the budget-friendly option of sealing the gaps as best we can.

A couple of years ago I bought some draught-proofing strips from eBay. These really stopped the cold wind coming through.  Sadly, over the summer, when the back door was constantly open my cheeky toddler peeled all the strips off. Therefore, draught-proofing is on the top of my winterise my home to-do list!  Hopefully, by next summer we’ll be over the curious toddler stage and we won’t need to replace the strips until we replace the door.

We also noticed that the keyhole let in a lot of cold air. As such, we opted for the very budget-friendly method of gaffer taping the keyhole on the outside of the door. We only use the door to access the garden, not to gain access to our house, so this works for us. However, there are prettier and more practical options out there online and in your local DIY store if you’re in a similar position.

Insulate Your Garden Tap

Got a garden tap?  Before the first frost, it’s a good idea to shut the water supply off to your garden tap, if you can. This will help to avoid the pipe freezing and potentially bursting.  If you can’t shut the water supply off to the tap then you can insulate the garden tap.

For insulating the garden tap we go down the cheap and cheerful route of recycling bubble wrap that comes into our house.  Wrapping a thick layer of bubble wrap over the tap and securing it with tape has done the trick for us at zero cost.  Again, if you’re looking for a more attractive finish then there are products you can buy that do the same job.

Order Fire Wood

If you have a wood-burning stove then now is a good time to stock up on firewood. We got our first delivery of the season last week. I have now come to appreciate that there are few things as satisfying as a fully stocked woodshed.  Stacking the woodshed? Not so satisfying.

Get Your Chimney Swept

Getting your chimney swept is a really good idea to help keep a good draw on your chimney, and to help avoid chimney fires.

We use a professional chimney sweeping service once a year, and surprisingly there is zero mess involved.  A man comes with an industrial vacuum cleaner, pops a sheet down, and sticks various brushes up the chimney until all the debris is cleared.  The job is done in about 45 minutes, and he even gives us a certificate for our home insurance company.  Some insurance companies can refuse to payout in the event of a fire if you have a functioning fire but don’t regularly clean it so this is a reassuring touch.

get your home ready for winter

Clear Your Gutters

Clearing your gutters is an oddly satisfying job. It’s always surprising the amount of moss, leaves, and other debris that can gather in there over autumn.  If your gutter blocs and overflows it can cause leaks in your home and other untold damage

Repairing Cracks in the Mortar

Cracks in the mortar can let dampness and cold in.  Not only that, pre-existing cracks can be made a lot worse if water gets in and then freezes.  Needless to say, it’s a good idea to spend an hour or two repairing any cracks.  We did this ourselves this year. We bought a mortar repair kit from the hardware shop, followed the mixing instructions, and went for it.  As a handy tip – it’s a good idea to have a pair of latex or rubber gloves on to help apply the mortar neatly.

Get Your Boiler Serviced

Winter is a busy season for boiler repair tradespeople.  We got ours serviced early on in this month to beat the rush, so I’d recommend booking in a service ASAP.  A service can allow you to diagnose faults and get them repaired before your boiler breaks,  and to keep it in tip-top running condition over winter.

Bleed Your Radiators

Bleeding your radiators might be one of those tasks that you always relegate to the bottom of your to-do list but it’s a pretty important one on your get your home ready for winter to-do list.  Here’s a quick video guide on how to bleed radiators if you haven’t done it before.

Line The Back of Your Radiators

Walls are pretty good at absorbing heat. The thing is you want that heat going into your room, not the walls.  To prevent this you can buy radiator lining foil.

It’s really simple to install. Simply cut the foil to size, and place it down the back of your radiator.  You can’t see it once it’s in place, but it does help reflect the heat from your radiators into your room rather than being absorbed into the wall.  The foil is pretty cheap from any DIY store and soon pays for itself in the form of lower gas bills.

Wash Your Windows

In autumn I like to give my windows a good wash, inside and out, to help maximise solar gain.  Dirty windows significantly lower the amount of light that fills your room on winter days. Therefore keeping your windows clean is a good step to let as much light as possible in.

What do you do to get your home ready for winter?  Any winterising tips I’ve missed?

Energy Saving, Home and Garden, Natural Cleaning

How Often Should You Wash Your Clothes? A Guide

natural stain remover tips

Are you wondering how often should you wash your clothes? Check out this useful guide that covers everything from jeans to pyjamas, to underwear, and more.

As a young adult, I often found myself wondering “how often should I wash my clothes?”.  I didn’t really know the answer, so I erred on the side of caution a bit too much.  As such, I washed my clothes pretty much after every wear.  With the exception of trousers, that maybe got two or three wears before being chucked in the laundry pile, I operated a one wear only policy.

That was fine in my single days.  However, it wasn’t until after I became a mum, and my laundry pile was less of a pile and more of a mountain, that I realised that maybe it was ok to not wash every single item of clothing after every wear.

The wake-up call for me was when I was washing my baby daughter’s sleepsuits after every wear.  This was even if she’d needed changing in the night, and so had only worn the suit for a few hours.  I soon realised that as long as her clothes and sleepsuits looked and smelled clean then my daughter could wear the same sleepsuit several nights in a row, without needing a wash, and nothing terrible was going to happen.

Since then I have relaxed my one-wear laundry policy.  Now I rely on the look, smell, and feel of my clothes before assessing if something needs to go in the washing machine after just one or two wears.   Not washing your clothes quite so frequently helps prolong their life.  It also saves you a bit of money and helps the environment.  That’s as well as saving you time and energy. Therefore, it’s something I’m completely on board with!

how often should I wash my laundry

If you want a bit more reassurance than going by nose alone, then don’t worry.  I found this handy guide on how often you should wash your clothes from the people at Real Simple.  I’ve reproduced it here, and you can read the full article here.

If you’re visually impaired and using a text reader, I’ve put the text below to make the guide more accessible to you.

How Often Should You Wash Your Clothes?

how often should I wash my clothes

Anything white or silk: wash these clothes after every wear.

Bras: after 3 to 4 wears.

Smart trousers and skirts: after 5 to 7 wears.

Down jackets: 2 times a season.

Fleece jackets and sweatshirts: wash these clothes after 6 to 7 wears.

Hats, gloves, and scarves: 3 to 5 times a season.

Hosiery: after every wear.

Jackets and blazers: after 5 to 6 wears.

Jeans: wash these clothes after 4 to 5 wears.

Leather and suede jackets: once a season.

Leggings and yoga trousers: after 1 to 3 wears.

Pyjamas: after 3 to 4 wears.

Shapewear: after 1 to 3 wears.

Shorts and Khakis: wash these clothes after 2 to 3 wears.

Sweaters: cotton, silks, and cashmere, after 2 wears; wool and acrylic blends, after 5 wears.

Swimsuits: after every wear.

T-shirts, vest tops, and camisoles: after every wear.

Tops and dresses: after 1 to 3 years.  Formal dresses should be dry-cleaned after every wear (here’s how to dry clean at home).

Wool coats: 1 to 2 times a season.

What’s Your Approach?

What do you think?  Are you onboard with washing your jeans after every four to five wears, or leggings after up to three wears?  I have a toddler in the house – think sticky hands, snotty noses, and so forth, so I would be very lucky if I could get my jeans lasting up to needing a wash after five wears!

And how often do you wash your clothes?  I’m curious!

ps: see my guide on how to wash wool for tips on advice on how to keep your woolens looking better for longer, my guide on how to wash white striped clothing, my guide on how to make your own fabric conditioner, and my natural stain remover tips for all your laundry woes!