The passage of linear time has been hard to track this year, for obvious reasons, but it won’t have been lost on anyone that nights are drawing in. The days are getting colder, and there is more likely to be some rain to deal with too. Although our arrangements for the holiday season might be different in 2020, many of us are at least beginning to make those arrangements, and though we can’t say that winter has truly begun, it’s certainly on the way.

This year, more than any other, the importance of making your home ready for the colder months is inescapable. Many of us will be working from home for the foreseeable future, and even those who can’t do that may yet find themselves unable to travel to work, so it’s vital that your house is prepared for the encroaching colder days and nights, and the darker evenings that we’re now beginning to experience.

Check your windows from the outside

You may well be of the opinion that there isn’t a draught in your house, and you might be right. It’s also possible that there wasn’t a draught last year, but the passage of time has taken its toll and now there is cold air getting into your house. You wouldn’t have noticed it in summer, but as the days grow colder, you surely will. Draughts are most likely to get in around windows and doors – anywhere in your home where there is a join, in all honesty. So it makes sense to take a bit of time one morning to go around the exterior of your house.

As you move around, look at any gaps in the mortar, and in particular around any openings. The aforementioned windows and doors are important, but vents and other such interruptions to the brickwork should be monitored – and if there is space for air to get in, it should be patched up with a caulking gun. This may not eliminate all draughts, but it can certainly limit the impact they have on your comfort throughout winter. 

Clear out the gutters

By now, much of the leaf fall we are likely to see this autumn will have already happened, but there is some still to come. Now is a very good time to check the gutters around the roof of your home, and clear out any fallen leaves. The longer that leaf mulch sits in your gutters, the more rain it collects, and the more prone it becomes to freezing solid when the temperature dips below zero. This can cause permanent damage to the gutter which will require expensive repairs to make good again.

Ensure that your heating – and hot water – work as they should

It used to be essential to have hot water from taps in your house, for washing up, showering and a range of other purposes. As time has passed, appliances that need to use hot water can increasingly heat it themselves, and are plumbed into the cold water supply – and frugal people are engaged in a battle of wills as to who will be the last to turn the household heating on. That’s all well and good, but it means we’re often late to find out about faults in our hot water and heating throughout the house.

It’s vitally important to check that these essentials are functioning; you quite simply will not want to be washing your hands in cold water this winter (and, thanks to the pandemic, you need to wash your hands all the more right now). If you need any repairs to be run, you can book them in with the likes of before the winter rush begins, and can then be confident of a steady supply of hot water and household heating that will see you through the coldest months of the year.

One last tip: lots of blankets!

We all know how cold it can become in winter, and if you are working from home the concern may well be that you need to heat the house more because you are there for longer. As far as possible, it is best to avoid turning the heating on unless it is absolutely necessary. Instead, have plenty of warm blankets which you can wrap around yourself to stay warm, only deploying the household heating if it gets seriously cold.

Making your house winter-ready is a vital step to take before winter itself has fully descended. You’ll be glad you took the above measures when you look back in January and see how much you have benefitted.

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