An expert's guide to winter-proofing your home

An expert's guide to winter-proofing your home

Last Updated May 23, 2019 · Written by Britt Crosby · 5 min read

The 6 things every homeowner must do to prepare for the winter season:

1.    Get a professional energy audit

2.    Caulk, insulate and seal leaks

3.    Clean out your gutters

4.    Prepare your fireplace

5.    Install an efficient heater

        6. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

It seems like only yesterday we were compiling our best advice for preparing your home for autumn, how quickly time flies when the kids are back in school, the sun sets at 5 pm, and it's so chilly outside we have no option but to spend more time curled up inside.

While cold weather lovers are stocking up on peacoats, boots and new ski equipment for the imminent winter season, homeowners are battening down the hatches and doing everything within their power to protect their home while staying safe and warm.

The level of winter-proofing your home requires depends upon your home's location within Australia and whether or not it reaches the freezing point. However, there are certain necessary steps every homeowner should take before winter arrives to prepare their home for a drop in temperature.

Below is our guide on winter-proofing your home whether you live in Tasmania or Queensland.  

1.  Start with a professional energy audit

When winter rolls around we tend to see a significant rise in our electricity bills - the lights are on longer, and we tend to spend more time indoors with the electric heaters and blankets to keep us warm. While a higher electricity bill is often inevitable in winter, there are ways to reduce the cost. Hiring a tradie to perform an energy audit is a worthy investment. A quick inspection will determine if there are any drafty outlets, exterior doors, windows, or chimney flutes. If leakage is detected and fixed, you could save 5-30% on your energy bill.

2.  Caulk, insulate and seal

Once you've determined your home has air leaks, you'll want to hire a tradie to professionally seal them as soon as possible. Air leaks in exterior doors and windows are common and a significant cause of heat loss. To prevent this heat loss, a tradie will adequately seal the identified areas from both the inside and outside with caulk to keep the cold out and the heat in.

3.  Clean out your gutters

While it's essential to consistently clean out your gutters throughout the year - it's especially important in the winter. By the time winter hits your gutters are likely filled to the brim with autumn's leaves and debris. When the gutters are clogged, the water will have nowhere to go but down the side of your home, causing deterioration of your siding and a potential hazard for your foundation. A trusted tradie will not only clear out your gutters but will ensure they're draining correctly as well. If the downspout is too close to your home, it may cause pooling along the foundation - a severe problem in the winter months when the temperature drops.

4.  Prepare your fireplace

Is there anything better than snuggling up by the fire on a chilly winter afternoon? If you're fortunate enough to have a functioning fireplace in your home, you'll want to ensure it's in proper working order by the time winter rolls around. A trusted tradie can assist in cleaning, inspecting, and identifying any maintenance issues with your fireplace to ensure it's safe to use. All you'll need to do is source some firewood for burning.

5.  Install an efficient heater

According to "efficient reverse cycle air conditioners produce only one-third the greenhouse gas emissions of standard electric heaters. The most efficient 5–6 star reverse cycle units produce less than one-fifth of the emissions of conventional electric heaters." Not only are reverse cycle air conditioners a wise choice for our planet - they're a smart choice for your wallet as well. A trusted tradie can properly install and strategically place a heater in your home - a worthy investment you'll be thankful for all year long as it can also be used as an air conditioner in summer.

6.  Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Lastly, it's recommended that you test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors before the winter season approaches. Since you'll likely be blasting your electric heaters, sleeping with electric blankets and firing up the fireplace every chance you get you'll want to ensure you're safe should anything go wrong. Potential hazards include malfunctioning electric devices, a log rolling out of the fireplace or worse. It's also essential to ensure your home is properly vented and appliances don't have any leaks (be sure to discuss this with the tradie you hire to perform your energy audit.)



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