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Weatherproof your home this winter

Posted Date: 27th Oct 2014

Weatherproof your home this winter

Excerpt from NHBC Home News Pages

Now that autumn is here, homeowners should look ahead before the winter approaches, as there are many things we can and should do to protect our homes from the effects of harsh weather. Good planning can also help to reduce maintenance and utility costs.

If you are looking to get an early start or just carrying out some general DIY before the cold months draw in, NHBC, the UK's leading warranty provider and standards setting body for new build homes, is offering the following tips to keep your home watertight and draught free for the winter:

Gutters: Gutters should be cleaned out at least once a year to remove leaves and debris. Wet patches on the walls below (both external and internal) may indicate that gutters or downpipes are blocked.

Paintwork: External finishes will become dirty over time and, where appropriate should be washed on a regular basis. Owners of new homes should consider repainting after two years, but then - provided it is done properly - repainting and staining should only be necessary every four to five years. You may need to repaint more often if you live by the sea or in an exposed area.

Drainage access: Inspection chambers and rodding eyes are there to provide access to the drainage system below ground so that blockages can be cleared. It is important that these are not covered by soil, turf or paving.

Flat roofs: Flat roofs should be inspected once a year to ensure that they remain in sound condition and rainwater outlets should be checked to ensure that they are not blocked.

Heating Systems: Central heating boilers should be checked and serviced at least once a year by a competent maintenance engineer to check they remain safe - engineers should be registered with the following organisations, as appropriate for the type of appliance:

  • Gas Safe Register
    For gas appliances
  • OFTEC
    (Oil Firing Technical Association for the Petroleum Industry) for oil fired appliances
  •  HETAS LTD
    (Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme) for solid fuel appliances

Chimneys: Should be swept at least once a year (unless the notice plate suggests alternative maintenance arrangements) to prevent chimney fires and the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Bleeding radiators: If you notice that a radiator is warm at the bottom but cool at the top, this indicates that there is air in the system, which prevents the warm circulating water from reaching the top of the radiator. If this is noticed, the radiator will require bleeding.

Cold Spots: An important job as winter creeps in is to make sure that the house is free of draughts. By spending a little time walking around the house looking for potential cold spots, and taking the necessary cheap and simple measures to eliminate them, it should be possible to keep the heating down and the home comfortably warm.