Why it can pay to get your home winter ready the DIY way

When it comes to home improvements and repairs, the over fifties definitely have the upper hand. In fact, surveys show that a quarter of this age group get stuck in to DIY on a regular basis.1 And what better way to make use of these handy skills than by ticking off a few essential jobs to get your property ready for the winter months ahead?

While the mild autumn weather is still here, it’s a perfect time to take on DIY jobs to prepare for the harsher conditions that can play havoc with your home. Tackling simple tasks now can prevent damage brought on by bad weather, saving you the hassle of getting professionals in – not to mention costly repairs.

So what are the top 5 DIY routes to a winter-ready home?

1. Clearing gutters and drains is a good place to start. Removing leaves and debris will avoid blockages, which can cause water damage to the roof or masonry

2. Protect pipes and outside taps from freezing temperatures with foam lagging. If you’ve got vegetation growing around pipes, cutting it back can also stop it from becoming damaged.

3. Check seals around windows and doors are in good shape. If you can see damp around internal window or doorframes, this could indicate the external seals have perished.

4. Ensure outdoor lights are working so paths are easier to navigate and your home security is enhanced, too. Low energy bulbs will save you money over the darker months.

5. Fill in cracks in walls, paths or driveways before frost and ice sets in and makes them bigger

Aside from the simple tasks you can tackle yourself, it’s also worth getting the experts in for a few essential jobs. Having your boiler serviced at this time of year can give you the peace of mind that it’s in full working order, running efficiently and cost-effectively in time for winter. If you have real fires or wood burners, having chimneys swept should be on the agenda to help prevent chimney fires. And installing a CO2 monitor, or checking the batteries in existing carbon monoxide detectors, is vital, too.

Ensuring you have adequate insulation can save you a considerable sum of money. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that £1402 per year can be shaved off bills for a semi-detached house by having the right insulation installed. With winter fuel charges one of the biggest concerns for retirees3, this makes insulation an investment that can pay for itself many times over. Double, triple and even quadruple glazing is also key to a more energy efficient home.

So before the clocks go back, why not invest time getting your home ready for the new season? It can pay dividends when the temperatures dip, protecting you against costly home repairs and cutting the cost of fuel bills.


1http://www.saga.co.uk/newsroom/press-releases/2010/over-50s-turn-to-diy-for-credit-crunch-home-improvements.aspx

2http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/home-insulation/roof-and-loft

3http://news.sky.com/story/fuel-costs-oap-bills-doubled-since-2005-10458234

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