Autumn and winter in Scotland can be beautiful – with its colourful autumn leaves, clear skies and sunshine. But more often than not it’s cold, wet and windy. So, if you haven’t already, it’s time to get your home ready for winter. Especially, if you’re looking to reduce cold draughts, heat loss and your energy bills.
1. Check Your Boiler
This is one of the most crucial steps in our checklist, especially over the next few months. It can cost up to £1,430 to replace it if it’s not working properly!
How old is your boiler? The reason we’re asking is that if you’ve had yours for a good number of years, the more inefficient it will be. It’s vital to check the pressure gauge and it’s easy to do so.
Locate the pressure gauge on your boiler. If there is the correct amount of pressure in your system, the needle should be between 1 and 2 bars. This area is usually designated in green.
Below 1 and greater than 2 is in red, indicating critical zones and you should contact your gas company immediately.
2. Draughtproof Windows and Doors
There’s nothing worse when you feel a cold draught coming in, even when all your doors and windows are shut! Three areas to look for draughts are:
- The gaps between the window and the frame
- Caulk on the outside of the window frame
- The area around any locks or catches
Most DIY stores will have the right materials to help you block out the draughts and will be very inexpensive – save money on your energy bills this winter.
Another great way to keep the cold out and the heat in is to invest in interlined curtains and blinds. With added layers to give them more bulk, they insulate your home further and keep nosy neighbours out as well.
3. Bleed the Radiators
A simple procedure that will save you money in the long run! Simply turn your heating on and check your radiators. If the radiator is cold at the top and hot at the bottom, it’s a sign that air pockets are keeping the hot water from circulating properly.
To let that air out, switch off your heating and let the radiators cool down properly. Then get a radiator bleed key to open up the radiator vent valve and have a cloth or towel ready to catch drips.
Look for the valve, turn it anti-clockwise and listen out for a hissing sound. Once the water begins to flow, just tighten the value once more and you’re done.
4. Clear Your Gutters
If you’re wondering where all those leaves have fallen during autumn, chances are they’ll be in your gutter. And clogged gutters and drains are not a good way to start into the cold season.
Once the block becomes too much, water will start to collect in your gutter and eventually start leaking into your roof. So, clear your gutters in time for winter to avoid costly repairs further down the road.
5. Test Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Sadly, winter is the time most house fires happen. We are also much more likely to have our home closed up tight, so carbon monoxide is a much bigger hazard.
Take some time out and check all of your smoke detectors to make sure they are working and that they have good batteries.
If your home is not equipped with a carbon monoxide detector, do consider getting one, it could save your life.
6. Cosy up
Autumn and winter are also the time for snuggling up on the sofa with your favourite woollen blanket and a hot cup of tea.
So make sure that you have your blankets, woollen socks and hot water bottle ready – and consider getting some rugs to cover any cold spots on your floor.
7. Maximise your Insulation
Did you know that without proper insulation, up to 25% of your heat literally goes (out) through the roof? With the climate crisis in full swing and the current energy prices, increasing your home’s energy efficiency should be at the top of your list.
Insulating your loft alone will make a big difference to your comfort levels on colder days. But, according to the Energy Saving Trust, it will also pay for itself many times over.
There is a lot of support for homeowners who want to invest in energy-saving measures. We’ve put together an overview of what’s available for loft insulation loans in Scotland right now.
8. Make Room for Christmas
Soon it’s that time of the year when we get all our festive decorations out to turn our homes into a cosy winter wonderland. But if your home is anything like ours, that means creating space for a Christmas tree, candles and our favourite snow globes in an already cluttered home. So, here are some tips on how to make room for Christmas:
- Expired food – give your fridge and freezer a good clean before buying all your festive food.
- Decorations – make way for new decorations by getting rid of broken fairy lights or baubles you haven’t used in years.
- Boxes – recycle old cardboard boxes & free up space to hide presents or make room for your Christmas tree.
- Cleaning supplies – again, if you haven’t used it in a while, chances are it can go. No reason to keep it if you don’t like it.