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Batten Down The Hatches!


  • Inspect the roof and replace any cracked tiles
  • If chimney pots are in place but not in-use consider protecting them, by fitting ventilated cowls


  • Check the insulation is in good condition (up to current standard)
  • Avoid over insulating. It is important that the tanks and pipes in the loft do not freeze, so do not insulate below the tank
  • Make sure the lid is on the cold-water tank.

Gutters and drains:

  • Clear them of leaves and debris. Take particular care that the gulleys are clear
  • Overflowing gutters can drench walls and cause damage
  • Insulate external drain pipes (eg those for central heating) with waterproof tape or similar material


  •  33% of heat lost in the home is through the walls. Cavity wall insulation is a good option and can boost its value and saleability while reducing your energy bills
  •  Check the pointing – frost can play havoc with poorly maintained walls
  • Make sure water can run off the building; fill gaps to cement angle fillets at wall junctions
  • Consider fitting reflective foil behind radiators on outside walls

External paving:

  • In very cold weather, water on paving will freeze
  • Ensure the paving is well drained and avoid water collecting, freezing and causing accidents


  • Check that it hasn’t obstructed air bricks and gulleys


  • Check perimeters of all windows to make sure water flows away from glass and doesn’t collect on the sill, or drain behind it
  • It is important to minimize draughts. If double-glazing is not in place (it cuts heat loss through windows by 50 percent), consider fitting cheaper options such as secondary glazing or put polythene across the window frames
  • Curtains can make a big difference to heat loss. Consider thermally insulated curtains for windows and the outside doors


  • Stop draughts through letterboxes by fitting a cover and put a sealant around the door frames


  • Fill gaps between exposed floor boards
  • If there are stripped floors in place consider putting down rugs in the winter to reduce draughts up between the boards
  • Ensure central heating pipework in the ventilated floor voids is insulated (70% of the heat input may be lost if un-insulated)


  • Have wood and coal burning flues swept


  • Have your boiler serviced
  • If you have a condensing boiler, insulate the external condensate and ensure it is of the correct bore
  • Consider fitting a trace heater to prevent the boiler from freezing
  • And finally, check your heating system is in order; insulate internal hot water tanks, and bleed radiators so they are working at their most efficient

While many of these simple tasks can be undertaken safely in the home, it is important that people seek the advice of reputable professionals when looking to complete larger jobs and most importantly, appropriately qualified contractors for works to gas, electric or oil based systems.

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