Cold Weather Tips – How to Get Your Home Through the Winter

Winter is once again upon us. The cold weather sends us into a state of near-hibernation as we batten down the hatches and clutch our hot chocolates as everything freezes outside our cosy little worlds.

Unfortunately, winter is a prime time for boilers to break down and pipes to freeze, leaving you without heat and hot water when you need it most. These cold weather tips will help you, where possible, get through the winter efficiently, economically and most importantly, warmly!

Have your boiler serviced

This is the first of our cold weather tips, as it is the single most effective way to prevent boiler breakdowns over winter. As the summer starts drawing to a close is the best time to organise a boiler service. This will ensure that any potential problems are picked up before they lead to unpredictable breakdowns in the depths of midwinter. Of course, servicing cannot prevent every possible problem but it makes a huge difference to incidence rate of breakdowns.

Don’t abandon your heating

Gas boilers have moving parts that can seize up when not regularly used. Routinely switching your boiler on over the summer months can prevent that awful moment when you switch it back on at the beginning of winter and find it doesn’t work.

Prevent your pipes from freezing over

Sometimes, frozen pipes cannot be avoided when the temperature drops. However, there are things you can do to prevent frozen pipes to a certain extent.

  • Keep your heating on – keeping your pipes warm will prevent them from getting cold enough to freeze. Lagging is a positive thing but remember that it is only a barrier – if there is no actual heat, lagging won’t prevent freezing.

  • Run your cold taps regularly – including your outside tap!

  • If your pipes become frozen, turn off the stopcock immediately. The best thing you can do is wait for nature to take its course and for the pipes to thaw naturally – attempting to thaw the pipes yourself can cause more harm than good, and is generally advised against. If your gas pipes are frozen you should absolutely leave them alone, and organise for a trained and registered engineer to deal with them. It is also a good idea to arrange for an expert to visit to check your pipes for any splits, which could cause leaks when the weather warms up and the ice thaws.

Saving money in cold weather

Nowadays, very few of us can afford to have our heating on all of the time, even in the very cold weather. To help save money you can –

  • Focus the efforts of your heating by switching radiators off in rarely-used rooms.

  • Rather than having the heating on all the time, set the thermostat to come on at regular intervals to keep a comfortable temperature through the day and night.

  • Ensure your radiators are heating up fully – if not they may need bleeding or the system may need to be flushed through.