energy efficiency

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 fire wood. 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.

If your boiler is on it’s last legs it might be wise replacing it sooner rather than later, to avoid being left without heating or hot water over the coldest part of the year.  If the idea of getting multiple tradespeople out to give you quotes gives you the fear, then you can

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 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?

Home, Home and Garden

AD | Can switching energy suppliers be a life changing experience?

brighter world energy

brighter world energy

This is a sponsored post in association with Brighter World Energy.

Shopping around for an energy deal is, let’s face it, dull and very rarely life changing.  It’s something we put off and put off and so we sit on the same old tariff because it seems like too much hassle to switch suppliers.  I know this from first hand experience – we sat for years on the same old tariff because we couldn’t face the thought of switching.  When we did finally switch, although it wasn’t life changing, it wasn’t nearly as painful or as difficult as we had anticipated.

But what if switching energy suppliers could be a life changing experience?

There’s a new energy supplier on the block called Brighter World Energy, who are a refreshing alternative to the Big Six energy companies.

Instead of acquiring customers on cheap fixed tariffs and then revert them on to expensive standard tariffs a year later –a practice commonplace amongst the Big Six – Brighter World Energy charge a fair price all the time, consistently ensuring all customers are getting a good deal all of the time, not just the new customers.  At at time when 3 out of 5 people are being over charged for their energy this is very much a good thing.

I know what you’re thinking – this is well and good but hardly life changing stuff.  But there is more – right now there are 1.2 billion people around the world without access to electricity – 600 million of which are in sub-Saharan Africa.  Brighter World Energy hope to change that.  For every 2,000 customers that switch to Brighter World Energy, they will build a solar powered grid in a village in Africa, bringing clean and reliable electricity to families in villages for the very first time.

Providing power to villages means that, for example, health centres can be powered, enabling malaria and polio vaccines to be stored safely, meaning fewer children die of preventable diseases.  If that isn’t life changing then I don’t know what is.

Brighter World Energy are the first buy-to-give energy company but you won’t find Brighter World Energy on the price comparison sites.  These sites make their money by charging utility companies up to £70 for every customer that makes a switch.  Instead the savings from not being on the comparison sites goes directly to fund the solar grids.

Not being on the price comparison sites doesn’t mean they are not competitively priced – Brighter World Energy say that switching to their tariff can save the average household up to £200 a year when compared to the average standard variable tariff of the Big Six energy providers.

Once you sign up, you’ll be kept up to date online with images, case studies and videos live from the villages who are being helped with the solar grids, as well as receiving the annual impact report, so that customers can see the impact they have made.

You can get a quote for either gas, electricity or dual fuel via the Brighter World Energy website, where all you have to do is pop your postcode in and you’re given an estimated quote in seconds, or you can call them on 0800 028 2332.  So in minutes you can save money and change someone’s live for the better.  It’s not often you can change someone’s life from the comfort of your own sofa, it it?!