September 16th, 2021. Tom Rowlands
How to Winter Proof Your House
It’s safe to say the winters in the UK aren’t exactly tropical. Cold, wet and dark are probably the words that best describe these long months.
With this in mind, making sure we get the most of our homes in terms of cost-effective heat is important, as is protecting properties under development from the elements.
So, how can you protect your properties from adverse weather? All the steps to a winter proof house are right here.
This is a must-do tip to protecting your property for winter. Foam tubes should be used to cover the exposed pipes between your hot water cylinder and boiler.
This greatly reduces the amount of heat lost and, therefore, keeps your water hotter for longer. This is a simple fix that performs well, proven to save you money simply by choosing the correct size foam tube in your local DIY shop.
For properties under development or refurbishment, this tip should also apply. Even more so in some cases, as properties that may not be completely weatherproof yet will be more susceptible to cold or water damage.
For properties that may be empty for an extended period of time, be sure to keep the thermostat on a low temperature, with the heating on for a few hours in the morning and evening. This will keep warm air circulating and prevent water freezing inside the pipes and any pesky leaks.
Draught-proofing windows, doors or any other areas in your homes’ structure can be an effective solution to heat escaping your property. Again, it’s possible to get draught-proofing products in standard DIY stores that can be easily fitted.
This hack can save you around £25 a year, so making the small effort to get winter proof doors, windows and everything in between is a bank account no-brainer.
Keeping a cold draft out of a property under development can be tough, especially if it’s still in the early stages. Be sure to get the property airtight as soon as possible, but until then, tarpaulin is a good, durable material that can cover large areas and withstand the elements.
A slightly more unknown tip around how to prepare your home for winter, these panels fit behind your radiator to reflect heat back into the room instead to letting it out through an external wall.
Admittedly, this tip does work best on walls that are uninsulated, saving you around £19 per year in this case, though fitting them with insulated walls will still prove beneficial.
For unoccupied houses, an effective money saver is to drain the radiators and heating system. Though you are unlikely to get all the water from your system, it will limit potential damage and slash utility bills. Be wary, though, shutting down the heating system could result in mould and long-term damp issues.
Of all the modifications you can make to your home, insulated walls will return the best results for both heat retention and savings. The average price for cavity wall insulation – that is, where the insulation fills the gap between the two external brick walls – is approximately £500. A significant amount of money in any case, though this could save you around £165 a year.
If your home does not have a cavity wall, it’s definitely still possible to insulate your home. However, the upfront cost could be more expensive depending on the level of work needed. Once complete, this could save you anywhere between £225 and £375 per year, so the work should pay for itself in due course.
Having the walls of an unused or development property insulated isn’t necessarily as important as other empty house winter precautions. However, it’s worth considering if you have a potential tenant in the pipeline or including the work as part of your development plans so it doesn’t have to be revisited in future.
Insulating the Loft and Roof
So, you’ve got winter proof windows, doors, walls and everything else sorted. The last piece to the puzzle is the loft. The majority of loft spaces in the UK will have some sort of insulation, though it can be thinner and therefore not as effective as the recommended standard.
To get the most from your loft insulation, be sure to have between 120mm to 270mm insulation thickness. This should save you around £14 per year and will significantly add to the warmth in your home.
Another aspect to consider with this area of your property, especially when under development or unrented, is maintenance of the roof. A poorly maintained roof can easily end up costing thousands in repairs or replacements.
Come Autumn, the gutters will be full of debris, so be sure to clean these well as failure to do so can result in damaged gutters, roof joints or damp issues. Also, ensure the roof coverings are secure as they can become dislodged in bad weather. Any frailties in this area could allow water into the structure potentially causing further damp issues.
Landscaping the Surrounding Outdoor Space
Of course, it’s important not to forget the land your property sits on too. Simple steps like ensuring you have a step up and into your property, and appropriate drainage, will ensure any surface water does not rush down garden slopes or across a development site and straight inside the building. If you live near a river or in an area which is prone to flooding, further precautions may also be required such as door barriers or sandbags.
We would also recommend being weary of old or unhealthy-looking trees that overhang your property. In adverse weather the tree may fall and, if close enough, it could hit your property. So, although no one likes cutting down trees, in some circumstances, a preventative trim may provide protection during a major storm.
How Pure Can Help
If you’re looking to make some much needed refurbishments or are considering developing property during the winter months, we can definitely help.
Article By Tom Rowlands
September 16th, 2021
Tom joined Pure Property Finance in 2017 after a career as a Client Wealth Manager, where he spent just under 3 years advising on financial and tax planning. Tom specialises in bridging finance and property development funding, having completed deals ranging from a simple £30K property purchase through to £2m+ mixed-use developments.See more articles by Tom