Essential home maintenance tips for winter
Winter’s a time for curling up in the warm and hibernating, but if you want to spend the cold winter days snuggled up indoors, you’ll need to invest a bit of time doing some essential winter maintenance jobs.
A little bit of effort now can go a long way in preventing potential disasters. We’ll explain how to bleed a radiator, and keep out draughts.
Bleeding a radiator
Why? Air builds up in your radiators over time and stops them from heating properly, which can make it tricky to get the right temperature in your rooms. It can also make your heating really noisy, as the air moves around the central heating system.
What to do?
- Turn off your heating and wait for the radiator to cool – so that you don’t get burnt.
- Place towels on the floor below and the wall behind the valve, to protect carpets and paintwork.
- If your home has 2 or more floors, bleed the downstairs radiators first – starting with the radiator furthest away from the boiler. Once you’ve bled the downstairs radiators, move upstairs – again starting with the one furthest from the boiler.
- Slowly turn the radiator key in the valve – you need to listen for a hissing sound as the air releases.
- Close the valve once water starts to run out – this means you’ve removed all the air trapped inside.
- Turn the heating back on and re-check the radiators, to make sure the valves aren’t leaking.
Why? Draught proofing your home will save energy and money – which means a cosier, cheaper winter.
What to do?
- Look for any unwanted gaps, usually around windows, doors, loft hatches, floorboards, chimneys or any pipes or cables which go outside.
- Windows and doors can be fixed with foam strips, draught brushes, or excluders – which are available from DIY stores, and are easy to put on yourself.
- For floorboard and skirting gaps, you’ll need special filler which is flexible enough to allow to the floorboards to move.
- If your chimney is never used, the best bet is getting a professional to put a cap on it. Otherwise you can use a chimney balloon or excluder - just remember to remove this before lighting a fire!