Now that Autumn is here, it’s time to prepare your home for winter cold weather. These steps, most of which you can do yourself, will help lower your utility bills and protect your investment.

1. Get covered – Sort out your home insurance

Checking your home insurance to make sure you’re covered for any winter-related damage is really important. Check that your policy offers adequate protection and that you’d be covered in the event of fire, flood, subsidence and theft. Also look into accidental damage or storm damage as most home cover policies won’t include this as standard, so you may need to add it on.

2. Clear Gutters and Drains

As the leaves will start falling, the gutters and drainpipes will start to get filled with loose foliage. Once the blockage becomes too much, water will start to back up in the guttering and leak into the roof and down the walls of the house.

Making sure the gutters are clear from any possible build-up will minimise the risk of water damage.

3. Get your boiler checked

Having no central heating over the winter period is the last thing you want to be dealing with. So be sure to get your boiler serviced before the cold weather really kicks in.

Always use a Gas Safe registered engineer when you book in your service – visit Gas Safe to find a certified engineer in your area.

You may also want to think about taking out boiler cover if you don’t already have it. This will ensure that a qualified engineer will be on hand to sort out any problems with your boiler or central heating as quickly as possible – meaning you won’t be stuck without heating or hot water if your boiler suddenly breaks down.

4. Bleed the radiators

If your radiators are colder at the top than they are at the bottom, then your radiators have trapped air inside them that’s stopping the heat from circulating properly.

It’s time to grab a towel and your special key and bleed that radiator! Bleeding the radiators releases the air, allowing the radiator to run more efficiently.

5. Get insulation!

Typically, you can save at least £120 per year on your energy bills by having insulation installed, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

About a quarter of the heat in your house is lost through the roof, so having good loft and wall cavity insulation could keep the house warm with less energy used.

These improvements needn’t cost the earth, as there are a number of government grants and schemes that subsidise insulation installation.

6. Protect your pipes

Burst pipes are common during winter due to rapid freezing and thawing, potentially causing massive damage.

The best way to stop this from happening is to keep your pipes warm with their own foam cardigan (called lagging), which will reduce the heat lost and insulate the pipes to stop them from freezing.

7. Switch Energy Suppliers

It always pays to check whether you’re on the cheapest energy tariff – you could save more than you think.

Don’t be fooled by the recent warm temperatures. The nights are rapidly drawing in and the clocks will soon go back. It can only mean one thing – time to sort your energy bills. Switch now and you could save more than £300/year*.

Click here for more advice on switching from MoneySavingExpert.com

8. No draughts

Those chilly winter breezes are wily things, and they’ll try everything they can to slip through the nooks and crannies of your home.

Check the edges of your doors and windows for draughts, and you can either seal these gaps with self-adhesive draught strips, or get one of those draught excluders shaped like a long sausage dog or lazy cat.

* Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were correct and estimated at the time of writing.

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