Winter is coming, and who knows how long it will stay once it grips the imaginations of the local weather stations in its icy fist. Every year, grim prognostications about impending cold snaps, freezing pipes and people being snowed in for weeks are spouted by the media, and it becomes easy to just switch off. But there are a few things you can do this fall to save fuel, pain and expense when hard weather hits, so pay attention, if only for long enough to read these quick-fire precautions.
Cozy up indoors
It’s all too easy to fire up the central heating when the air gets nippy, but with rising gas bills, it might be time to deploy some financial savvy to keep warm when temperatures drop. A good quality electric blanket will save you a fortune in heating bills, supplying warmth where you need it most. Keep blankets, thick slipper socks and hot water bottles handy, and, if you’re chilled, have a tea or hot chocolate to thaw from the inside, out.
Insulate your attic
Around 25 per cent of heat lost in your home is lost through the roof, a crying shame when you consider how easy loft insulation is to install. Save hundreds of dollars a year, every year, by padding out your insulation to the recommended depth of 12 inches. If you have a warm loft, where your house is insulated immediately underneath the roof, you might need to call in a professional, but you can make a generally cold loft with the insulation installed under floorboards a DIY project.
Wrap your pipes
If you want to avoid blockages, freezing and water damage, wrap your pipes in foam sleeves to insulate them. Don’t forget to wrap any pipes in the attic, which are especially vulnerable. If you plan on travelling, or leaving your home uninhabited for any length of time, turn off the water in your house and drain the pipes. Otherwise you could come back to a soggy insurance claim and water-logged carpets.
Gain some firm footing
Stock the shed with snow shovels, grit and de-icer to avoid nasty trips and slips when your front path turns glacial, and to protect any visitors from an unexpected tumble. The best case scenario is a broken wrist. And the worst? A public liability suit that could cost millions of dollars. Ouch!
Get all fired up
If you have fireplace with a log burner, it’s time to call the chimney sweep out to check it’s safe to use for the coming wintry months. Don’t be tempted to light a fire and be damned; if your chimney is blocked, smoke will back up in your front room, turning your house into a working replica of Victorian London. Have your central heating system serviced, and, most importantly, check your fire alarms.
Preliminary weather forecasts are predictably brutal for the year ahead, so don’t risk the horror stories becoming a reality for your household. With a few simple purchases and preparations, you’ll give winter the cold shoulder, while keeping your family warm.
Written for Keynko by Anne Scott who is a mum of two salon owner who loves to take her beautiful daughters on sun-soaked adventures. She is a keen runner and is guilty of always having a trashy romance novel on the go.
photo courtesy of www.flickr.com/photos/rcdesigner