Our tips for looking after your home over winter

When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing like the comforting feeling of stepping into your warm and cosy home. But the winter months can also be some of the most testing times to be a homeowner.

  • It’s no secret energy bills have shot up in the last couple of years, making it harder to afford to keep your home heated.
  • The wilder weather of wind, rain and snow (and even storms) can cause damage to your property.
  • The colder temperatures can lead to frozen pipes and drainpipes, which make them more likely to break.

It’s the life of a homeowner that we all experience moments of something going wrong. But although we can’t predict the future, there are ways to prepare for the unexpected and avoid having to dip into your hard-earned savings.

Read on to find out my tips for keeping your home warm and happy over the winter months.

1. Think about how well your home is keeping the cold out, and the warmth in

There’s not a lot any of us can do about high energy bills, but keeping the house warm isn’t just about how often you have the heating on.

The big thing to think about is how well your home is set-up to retain heat and how effective it is at keeping out the cold.

The more you can keep the warmth contained inside the house, the less time you’ll need to have the heating on.

Equally, the more you can shelter your home from the outside temperatures, the less often you’ll be shivering and reaching for the thermostat.

A better insulated home could save you hundreds of pounds a year.

  • Adding insulation to your walls, attic, floor and even your letterbox could give you stronger barriers. It’s not always cheap to do this, but even little things like adding self-adhesive insulation strips on your loft hatch can make a difference.
  • Another way the heat escapes and the cold seeps into your home is through those tiny gaps around your doors and windows. Getting draught excluders for the doors and insulation film for windows can help you.
  • If you have a fireplace, you’ll know how important it is to keep it clean and safe to use. Getting your chimney swept on a regular basis will help this further. Improving the energy efficiency of your home and reducing fire hazards.
  • If you’ve got light curtains and blinds on your windows, there’s only so much they will do to block out the cold. Buying heavy curtains or thermal blinds can effectively retain warmth when the heating is on.
  • Insulating exposed pipes (basically, covering them up with material that can trap heat) could reduce your energy use. It also lessens the risk of costly water damage.

Top tip!

If your house is over 10 years old and you’re a home-owning Skipton Building Society member, you can arrange a free EPC Plus report provided by Vibrant. It will help you identify any energy-efficient improvements you could make to reduce your energy usage.

Book your free EPC Plus report

2. Get into the habit of inspecting your home and doing odd-jobs to maintain it

It’s easy to miss those small signs, but having regular inspections could help you spot something before it becomes a big problem. A good tip is to check things over after spells of especially bad weather, like heavy rain.

  • Trim any overgrown branches in your garden and clear away fallen leaves – they can clog up your gutters. If snow builds up on these branches, they can fall and cause damage to anything below.
  • Get your drains cleared. That way, water is less likely to fall down the walls of your house or leak through the roofs. If drains do get blocked and water freezes, the weight can strain or crack the plastic guttering.
  • If you spot a loose tile when looking at your roof from the outside, or notice any dampness inside your loft, it’s probably a sign you need to get your rooftop repaired.
  • Have a just-in-case plan for emergencies. For example, would you know how to turn off your water or gas if you needed to at short notice?

Top tip!

Some of these jobs are not easy to do on your own or are extremely risky. So, getting expert help might be worth considering.

3. Think about having comprehensive home insurance

A Financial Conduct Authority study found that in 2022, only 22% of people with contents and buildings insurance read their policy documents carefully, and just 31% of people with contents insurance read their policy.

How about you?

Having the right level of home insurance in place could help you in moments when something goes wrong. If you choose to have emergency cover, you’d be able to call on the provider for assistance fixing a problem. Depending on your policy, you could be covered for loss or damage to the structure of your home.

This is where we could help.

Home insurance with Skipton

We can offer home insurance for all seasons. The quality of our Gold insurance cover achieved a 5 Star Rating by Defaqto. So, whether you don’t have cover, or your current policy is about to expire, getting a quote from us could help you give your home the protection it deserves.

Skipton Home Insurance is underwritten by LV= which is one of the UK's largest personal lines insurers with 180 years of history.

Small energy savings can add up to a lot

Here’s a few day-to-day things you could do right now to reduce your bills. Best of all, they shouldn’t hinder your lifestyle.

  • Get into the habit of turning off lights and devices when you leave rooms.
  • Turn down the thermostat by 1ºC. Chances are you won’t notice the difference in temperature, and it could save you £145 a year.
  • Buy energy-efficient LEDs instead of traditional light bulbs. Use lamps instead of overhead lights.
  • For the winter months, make sure your fridge and freezers are set to the recommended temperatures, these are best for efficiency and food safety.
  • Wash your clothes at 30º or cold water. There’s unlikely to be any difference in wash quality.

Important Information

Buildings and contents insurance is arranged by Skipton Building Society and provided and underwritten by Liverpool Victoria Insurance Company Limited (LV=).

EPC Plus is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

More information on home insurance

Read our home insurance policy details and find out more about our home insurance cover before starting a quote.

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