Winter is just around the corner. And, as the days and nights get colder, it’s essential to make sure your home is in the best possible shape for the festive season ahead. Creating a warm and sociable space is especially important this year with people coming together after months of social distancing.

Helping to turn your home into a cosy haven for you, your family, and any other guests, here are our alternative 12 days of Christmas. But don’t wait until the weather gets bad to get winter-ready! To prepare for extreme cold, strong winds, heavy rain, and plenty of snow, it’s best to start now!

With 12 tips for winter, STH Westco said to me…

1 Prepare for emergencies

To make sure you are in the best shape should something go wrong, plan in advance. Ensure you know who to contact if there is a power cut or if your heating system fails. You should also create an emergency kit with a torch, batteries, candles, blankets and some essential supplies just in case. It’s unlikely that you’ll need to use your emergency kit, but better safe than sorry. You should also make sure you are insured in case terrible weather damages your property.

2 Test your radiators

Test your radiators to ensure they are working properly. If they take too long to heat up or have cold spots, they might need bleeding or a professional clean. A warm home that is not too hot, not too cold, will create the perfect festive atmosphere.

3 Tidy up outside

As well as preparing the inside of your home, also make sure your garden is winter-ready. Cut back any loose/dead branches from your trees and give them a good prune. You should also store away any garden furniture and toys (e.g. trampolines) that might get swept away and cause damage in strong winds. Also, check your roof and brickwork for loose slates, tiles and flashings. This won’t just keep your home safe from damage, it will also make it look welcoming to any visitors.

4 Introduce some layers

One of the easiest things you can do to get your home winter-ready is to add furnishings to make it extra cosy. Put down some rugs on wooden/laminate floors and put up some plush curtains to keep the cold out. You can also scatter cosy throws on sofas and armchairs, and add extra blankets to beds to create snuggly spaces for you and your loved ones to cuddle up in.

5 Insulate your home

Gaps let the cold in and the heat out, so check your windows and doors for any drafts and seal them up to keep your home cosy and warm this winter.

6 Get your chimney cleaned

If you have a chimney, give it a good clean before winter kicks in. Using a professional chimney sweep will help you avoid any flue blockages and maximise the heat in your property over the coldest months of the year. And there is nothing better than a proper working fire for the family to sit around!

7 Protect your pipes

Ensure your water pipes (and water tank) are properly insulated to protect them from freezing and bursting this winter.

8 Use T – R – Vs

Check your Thermostatic Radiator Valve (TRV) settings to help keep your home cosy this winter. But you don’t need to turn them up as high as possible – that will only result in a room that’s too hot and an energy bill that’s too large. Instead, use TRVs to set the right temperature for the different parts of your home. For example, rooms that are used often can be set to higher temperatures, with unused rooms kept to a minimum. Remember to double check any TRVs in your guest rooms before they arrive.

9 Check for leaks

As well as checking your home for drafts, use the months before winter to figure out if your property has any leaks – and get these fixed before the wintry weather starts to creep in. Cold and wet can also cause wood to rot if it isn’t treated. To stop this happening, treat your windows/sills with the necessary products.

10 Clear out your gutters

Clear the rubbish and leaves from your gutters to stop them from becoming too heavy and collapsing with heavy rain/snow.

11 Damp-proof your house

Condensation increases in the colder months, and if not managed correctly, this can lead to mould. To keep your home damp and mould free, keep the temperature consistent and avoid sudden temperature drops.

12 …And ensure a heating system that’s warm and cosy 

To make sure your home is ready for winter, give your heating system the once-over. Check when your boiler last had its annual service and book an appointment for a system check-up if due.

With these tips, you can make sure that creating a warm home and a cosy atmosphere is the last thing you’re worrying about this festive season.

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