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How to winter-proof your home!

The days are getting shorter, the winter duvets are replacing the summer duvets and at the same time, the heating has been turned back on due to the increasing nip in the air.

With winter just around the corner, and the hike in energy-bill tariffs for households across Northern Ireland, here are some top tips on how to winter-proof your home to try and help keep costs down during the incoming cold months:

Seal gaps around your door frames, windows, flooring and skirting boards so heat can’t escape. This can be inexpensive, using insulation strips, silicone-based filler or even blankets or cloth. Consider covering up keyholes, letterboxes and cat flaps. Make sure the flue is closed in unused fireplaces and invest in a chimney balloon. Also, covering your wooden floors with rugs will help keep the heat in.

You can Stop draughts under doors by investing in a draught excluder that can be attached to the bottom of a door, or alternatively, stuff a pair of old tights, socks or a t-shirt that can lie behind the door when closed.

Avoid going to the expense of heating an Unused room. If you have any rooms in your house that you don’t use regularly, turn the radiators off or set the temperature low and keep the doors closed to keep the heat in the lived-in areas of your home.

Closing your curtains once the sun goes down will add an extra layer of insulation, whether your windows are double glazed or not. Heavier curtains or lining your curtains will be more effective. Also keeping your curtains opened during the day will allow the sun to warm up your rooms.

Make sure your radiators are working efficiently. If they feel cooler at the bottom, they may need bled to allow the trapped air to escape. Reflector panels can be fitted behind radiators that are attached to external walls; these will reflect the heat of the radiator back into the room. Avoid blocking your radiators with furniture, this will prevent the heat from circulating the room.

Insulating hot water tanks and pipes will keep your water hot for longer. The cost of hot water jackets and foam tubes are minimal in comparison to the savings in energy costs you’ll gain each year.

According to the NIDIRECT website, uninsulated cavity walls can add up to 25% to your heating bill. Insulating your walls and roof space will help to retain up to half of the heat that is lost from a typical home. Cavity walls can be insulated from the exterior of the property making it quick and easy and investing in this solution can result in significant savings in the long run. Most roof spaces will already have insulation already in place. However, increasing the thickness of the insulation will help your home to feel warmer.

Modern houses and heating systems will have portable heating thermostats, which are handy when it comes to taking control of your heating. Your thermostat will help to regulate your home heating. It’s advisable to keep your thermostat around 18 – 20 degrees and rather than turning the temperature up and down when it gets cold, try setting your heating to come on earlier to allow the heat to build. Thermostats on your radiators are also handy to keep your rooms at the right temperature.

Finally, making sure your boiler is serviced annually will allow it to function more efficiently and especially before the cold weather kicks in - you don’t want to be faced with a broken-down boiler in the middle of winter. If you have an ageing boiler, it is important to consider replacing it. Modern boilers can have significantly higher efficiencies than older boilers which is beneficial in the long term.

By implementing these preventative steps will help reduce the risk of winter-related accidents happening around your house - including burst pipes. However, to avoid spending more than you have to, it’s important to make sure you have the right cover of home insurance.

AbbeyAutoline searches a vast panel of insurers to find you our best possible deal. Before it gets any colder, get a home insurance quote online or call one of our expert team now on 08000 66 55 44.

You can boost your cover with our Home Emergency Cover, which means that in your hour of need, we will arrange for an emergency call-out to your home to carry out repairs up to the value of £500, and will cover various issues including heating system failure, burst pipes and plumbing issues.

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