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How to prepare your home and heating this winter

There’s nothing better at this time of year than curling up in front of the fire with your family. It doesn’t matter how miserable the weather is outside, you can fend off the elements and ensure you feel toasty in the comfort of your home. Similarly, this is the time of year when we want the our central heating on so that it is warm and toasty when we go to bed. No-one wants to be cold, but we can’t take it for granted after a glorious Summer that everything is going to be in perfect working order. There are things we need to do to ensure we do not get caught out once the cold weather comes.


Check Your Boiler and Radiators

After a Summer of glorious weather, it seemed like our central heating systems had been put into retirement, but now with temperatures dropping, especially at night, we are suddenly having to fire up the boiler and radiators once again. Central Heating Boilers don’t last forever, and if yours is more than a few years old, you may need to look at getting it serviced so that it will work perfectly during a cold snap. Similarly, your radiators may need updating and replacing, or at the very least they may need bleeding after a summer of inactivity.

You can check your boiler for yourself by looking at the pressure gage and noting down the reading, If in doubt about the safety of your boiler, you can seek professional help for any boiler repair. If you aren’t entitled to financial support e.g. via a boiler grant, you may want to check out boiler finance schemes instead.

Stock up on fuel

If you have a natural fire, make sure you stock up on fuel. The last thing you want on a freezing cold day is to discover you’re clean out of gas or firewood. As long as you’re organised, this won’t happen. It’s now easy to order fuel online from firms such as Calor. Just make sure you keep monitoring your gas or firewood levels throughout the winter so that you never run out.



Check your chimney

You might not be able to see your chimney when you’re relaxing in your living room, but out of sight shouldn’t mean out of mind. Damaged or blocked chimneys can represent a major safety risk, so it’s important that you check yours out before you start using your fireplace this winter.

It’s advisable to have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional once a year. This will ensure that any blockages are cleared. It also protects against tar build-up, insufficient draw, down-draught and poor ventilation.

You should get your chimneys assessed for cracks or damage caused by bad weather too. Also, bear in mind that this part of buildings can sometimes become obstructed by trees. If this happens, you’ll need to cut the trees back.

Marypoppins1Service your stove

In addition, make sure your stove is serviced by reputable engineer. These professionals will be able to check the appliance to ensure everything’s working as it should. For example, if you have a gas fire, an expert will be able to test the airways of the pilot and main burners. Bear in mind that all gas engineers should be on the Gas Safe Register, so check this before you agree to use them.

Assess your alarms

Good quality and fully functioning smoke alarms are a must at any time of year, but they’re especially important in winter when your fire’s in use. With this in mind, now’s a good time to test your alarms. You might need to replace their batteries or, if you’re not happy with their quality, invest in new versions.

It’s also savvy to use carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in your home. CO is often called the ‘silent killer’ because it’s colourless and odourless. Each year, between 30 and 50 people die in the UK as a result of inhaling this poisonous gas. It’s important to put one of these detectors in each room where you have a fuel-burning appliance. In your lounge, it should be at least a metre away from your fireplace. If you’re putting it on the wall, place it at head height and at least 150mm below the ceiling.

As long as you’re sensible this chilly season, you should be able to heat your home safely and without any hassle.

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