How to Winter-Proof Your Home

The UK was unprepared last winter for the coldest weather for 100 years, which lead to expensive energy bills and even damage to many of our homes. Here are some quick tips on how to make sure your home is energy efficient and winter-proof ahead of plummeting temperatures.

Central Heating

It’s important to service your boiler and all gas appliances at least once a year to ensure they’re working correctly and not leaking any poisonous carbon monoxide gas. Unfortunately many homeowners wait until their systems fail to book a service and are left in the cold as they struggle to find an available engineer during the busy winter period. With the high costs of last minute repairs, it’s also no surprise to discover that Brits ended up paying £450 million on boiler repairs alone in 2010.

A simple way to protect yourself from unexpected repair bills is to purchase boiler cover. Most policies should include an annual central heating service, during which the engineer should also be any test for any carbon monoxide leakage.

Drafts and Ventilation

Draught-proofing your windows and doors can help to prevent expensive heat from escaping. Hang heavy, lined curtains at windows to help keep the warmth in and if you have venetian blinds tilt the blades so they face down.

Most homes now have double-glazed windows for energy efficiency. Whilst these strong seals protect buildings against external weather conditions, they also unfortunately adversely affect your home’s ventilation.

Condensation quickly builds up during cooking, showering and even breathing. House dust mites thrive in warm and damp houses that have low levels of circulating air, particularly in the winter. Leave your windows slightly ajar on warmer days whilst in the house and invest in an extractor fan for the kitchen to divert steam and help remove unwanted cooking odors. Keep the bathroom window open whilst taking a shower and leave the door closed to prevent the condensation from escaping to other parts of the house.


Many homes only have 100mm of insulation. Insulating your loft with at least 270mm of insulation could save around £145 on fuel bills. Installing cavity wall insulation could also save you around £110 a year.

Improving the insulation in your home will not only help to save your money, it can also prevent water damage from burst pipes. The most common single cause of home insurance claims is ‘escape of water’, which can cause thousands of pounds of damage in collapsed ceilings, saturated furniture and destroyed electrical appliances.

Protect your pipes from cracking in freezing conditions by keeping them well lagged; wrap exposed outside pipes with insulating sleeves and make sure that water tanks get insulation too. In case of a major flooding emergency, make sure you know where your stopcock is to help you switch off your water supply as quickly as possible.