AS the cold begins to set in, now is a great time to start getting your home ready for the harsh winter weather.
One of the easiest ways to dramatically reduce your home's heating costs is by sealing your windows.
This is a pretty quick job that might be easy enough to do yourself, although there are plenty of handymen out there who can ensure you get the job done properly.
This is also a good time to start thinking about your insulation and how effective it really is. If last year you noticed that no matter what you did your house still felt pretty cold, poor insulation may be the cause, so get an expert to come and take a look. Insulating your property can make all the difference to your heating bills, so it's definitely worth the investment.
If the predicted cold snap arrives then you might want to prepare by purchasing an additional heating source. Oil and fan heaters are great at preparing short-term heat but need to be used with care.
Ensure you keep fabrics and paper away from the surface and remember to always turn them off before you leave the room. These can also cost a lot of money to run, so remember to keep an eye on how much they're being used.
If you are concerned about an elderly family member being left cold this year, why not book a routine check to ensure that gas and oil boilers, fires, convectors, water heaters, warm air units and radiators are all fully functional in their home.
Next, check the pipes and guttering for leaks or blockages.
With the cold, wet weather you may find prices rising and problems that were easily fixable in the warmer months become a major issue a few months down the line.
You'll want to avoid cold morning showers, broken radiators, leaks and cracked pipes so it is best to call a plumber at the first sign of a problem - you will most likely end up saving money in the long run.
Also remember to check the chimney and fireplace for any blockages and problems.
Remove any soot or debris from wood fireplaces and check the pilot light for a properly burning flame in gas units.
Tip one – Check pipes
Every couple of days, check the pipes in areas that are not used frequently such as basements, make sure there is no ice or frost accumulating or cracks developing.
Tip two – Insulate pipes
To protect against freezing, use foam padding sleeves or special insulating tape on your pipes. These can be used on both hot water and cold water pipes.
Tip three – Keep the loft warm
To keep the pipes in the loft from freezing, or if you use your loft as an extra room, why not open the loft hatch to allow some of the warm air from your house to circulate inside.
Tip four – Bleed radiators
Bleeding radiators is a job that you can carry out yourself. If they are hot at the bottom but colder at the top then the likelihood is they probably need to be bled.
Tip five – Central heating maintenance
Make a conscious effort to test your heater to see if it runs. If there is no warm air coming from the vents, contact a professional as soon as possible.
Tip six – Don't block radiators
Remove anything that is obstructing the radiators of your home, such as drapes or furniture, this will allow the heat coming out from the system to circulate freely around the room.
Tip seven – Avoid disposing of cooking oils down the drain
Grease and oil are some of the worst culprits for clogging the pipes and when the plumbing is colder this is even more likely to happen, so try not to pour these down the drain if possible.
Tip eight – Boiler servicing
Getting your boiler serviced can save money in the long run as an old boiler might actually use more energy and thus cost more to run.
Tip nine – Draw the curtains
Drawing the curtains over windows in the evening can provide extra insulation for the room.
Tip ten – Shut the doors
By keeping outside doors shut and blocking any obvious draughts, including the letterbox, you can maximise the warmth kept inside your home.