What does winter mean to you? Chunky jumpers, fluffy socks, cosy nights in by the fire, steamed puddings, the twinkly lights of Christmas? It can all be rather marvelous, especially when you’re experiencing your first winter in a new home.
But brace yourself. If current predictions are correct, it looks like we could all be heading for a rather harsh winter. In fact, it could be the coldest one for 50 years, with months of heavy snowfall and bitter arctic winds!
Meteorologists and oceanographers are making these predictions as a result of plunging ocean temperatures. In particular, readings for the Gulf Stream have plummeted over the past year. But with a drastic reduction in the speed and temperature of this current, we’ll be left with no buffer to protect us against the bitter arctic winds.
Back in 1963, Britain was hit by incredibly challenging winter weather. As temperatures dropped to -20c, the country was covered in snow for weeks on end and freezing Arctic winds of up to 100mph caused 20-foot deep snowdrifts. It was so bitterly cold that the sea off Kent, as well as many rivers and lakes, froze over. What’s more, road and transport networks ground to a halt causing fuel and food shortages, the likes of which had not been seen since the war.
So if we really are heading for a cold, white winter, what can we do to make sure we’re prepared and get our homes ready to bear the brunt of it all?
Here are a few ideas to help you keep warm and comfortable over the coming months:
Drop the draughts
If you live in a new Green Spinnaker home, you’ll find that everything meets the finest quality standards, with all windows, doors and boilers hand-picked to ensure their effectiveness and efficiency
However, if you live in an older property, it might be a different story. Check the edges of your doors and windows and if you feel the wind whistling through, seal the gaps with self-adhesive draught strips. Or for the retro touch, get yourself one of those lovely draught excluders cunningly shaped like a snake or a sausage dog!
Protect your pipes
If they’re not already protected, give your pipes an extra layer with some lagging. You can buy easy-to-use pipe covers from all good DIY stores. It’s a cheap and efficient way of stopping heat loss and preventing your pipes from freezing and bursting.
Make sure you know where your stopcock is. It’s much better to locate it now rather than wasting time looking for it when you have a burst pipe. When there’s water gushing over your carpets, the last thing you want to be doing is scrabbling around in your kitchen cupboards with a torch trying to find it.
Check your heating
Just fire up your heating for half an hour now to check it’s all working ok so you won’t be left out in the cold when you really need it. If your boiler is due an annual inspection soon, it’s probably worth organising that now too.
Top up your radiators
Green Spinnaker Homes do not have radiators as they have underfloor heating, however if your radiators are cold at the top, it means they have air trapped inside and the heat isn’t circulating properly. You can ‘bleed’ them by buying a special radiator key available from most hardware or DIY stores. Just turn the key, holding a towel underneath to catch any drips and the air will be released.
Keep it going
In really cold weather, it’s best to keep your heating on at a temperature of around 15 degrees to prevent your pipes from freezing. Even if you’re away from home, it’s best to leave it on at a low level. While it might seem like a waste of money, it could save you from returning to a soggy mess and an expensive repair bill. With underfloor heating we believe that the most efficient way to heat your home is to keep your underfloor heating thermostat at a regular 15 degrees all year round. Our super-efficient boilers with weather compensators will only kick in where necessary.
Check your energy deal
It’s now easier than ever to switch your energy supplier so check you’re getting the best deal from your current supplier before you have to keep the heating on constantly. If you’re still not convinced that you’re getting the best value for money, enter your details into a comparison site like uSwitch and see what savings you could make. If you decide to change, there will be no disruption to your service, your money will just go to a different company when you pay your bill.
If the weather really does hit, it won’t hurt to have a few supplies tucked away to keep you going. Stock up on tinned food, stash a loaf of bread in the freezer and perhaps keep in some UHT milk so you can still have your morning cuppa. It’s also a good idea to have some candles and matches handy in case the storms lead to any power cuts.
Make sure you’re covered
Should the worst happen, check that you have up to date house insurance and that your policy covers you for burst pipes. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Time to Get Ready for Winter
We hope our top tips will help you stay warm and cosy this winter – no matter how much snow arrives. Or if you’re dreaming about buying a new and more efficient home, why not register interest to keep up to date with our latest news and developments or contact us on 0333 358 3558 for further information.