| Financial services
When the nights begin closing in and the weather starts growing colder, Winter is certainly on it's way. However, there's still plenty to do to ensure your home is safe, secure as and as warm as possible through Winter.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a simple checklist which features a few quick fixes to help you protect your home from the elements and save money on your Winter energy bills.
Bouts of bad weather and power cuts can strike when you least expect it, so it’s always a good idea to be prepared by stocking up on Winter essentials such as grit, anti-freeze, candles and batteries. As the weather grows colder, it’s also important to ensure items such as lawnmowers, garden furniture, barbeques and bicycles are safely stored away in a garage or shed to prevent damage or theft during the Winter months.
Over time, air bubbles can gather in your radiator. The trapped air prevents the radiator from filling with water, which means it won’t heat your home as efficiently and will lead to higher energy bills. If the top of your radiator is much cooler than the bottom, then it may need bleeding. You can bleed your radiators easily yourself; all you need is a radiator key. Here’s a handy guide to bleeding your radiator, from Wickes.
Fallen leaves and debris can build up in guttering and weigh it down, causing cracks and blockages, so it’s important to clear your gutters before the cold and frosty weather sets in. Trimming branches from nearby trees can help minimise the problem and will also help prevent damage to your home during stormy weather. It’s also important to clear leaves from your drains, as a blocked drain paired with a heavy Winter downpour could create a flood risk.
As well as keeping yourself wrapped up warm, it’s also important to insulate your home. Loft and cavity wall insulation is great for keeping your house warmer, while a simple draught excluder can help minimise heat escaping under doors. It’s also a good idea to make sure your water pipes are insulated to prevent them from freezing, and make yourself aware of where your stop tap is in case you need to shut off your water supply in an emergency.
There’s a wide range of smart thermostats and heating systems on the market, and they’re becoming more affordable than ever before. These clever gadgets enable you to control your heating remotely, meaning you can schedule your heating to come on while you’re on your way home so it’s nice and warm once you arrive. They can also detect when you’ve left the house and can enable you to adjust the temperature of each room in your house individually, so you don’t need to rely on switches or timers to save money on your energy bills.
Not heating your home properly can put you at risk of developing cold-relates illnesses, such as a heart attack or even hypothermia. The Winter Fuel Payment, or Winter Fuel Allowance, is available to all households with someone over the pension credit age. If you were born on or before 5 August 1953, you will qualify for the 2017/18 payment. Learn more about the Winter Fuel Payment and how to claim.
Your home can be more vulnerable to risks such as storm and flood damage during the Winter months, which is why it’s important to ensure you have a comprehensive home insurance policy in place from a trusted provider and be aware of what’s covered should you need to make a claim. Age UK Home Insurance is rated 5 Stars by Defaqto and has no hidden admin fees or nasty surprises, and you could save money straight away if you switch today.
With the days and nights beginning to get darker and colder, the last thing you need is no heating or hot water. Try and schedule a boiler service as soon as possible to ensure everything is running as safely and efficiently as possible, as a broken-down boiler can not only be a nuisance, but it can pose a serious health risk. Remember to always use a Gas Safe registered business or engineer for your service.
For further advice around keeping warm and well this Winter, from staying healthy to heating your home, visit Age UK’s Winter wrapped up information hub.
Age UK Home Insurance is administered by Ageas Retail Limited and brought to you by Age UK Enterprises Limited.