Craig Philips Home Advice Episode 11 - Autumn DIY Health Check
As the days become shorter, there's a number of things you can do around the home to get ready for the cold weather. Because the more prepared you are for the winter, the less stressful it will be when it arrives.
The late summer and the early autumn is a perfect time to give your home a once over to protect it before the winter arrives. There's still a decent amount of light, but it shouldn't be too hot to take the opportunity to get your home in shape before the bad weather hits.
If you've taken the advice of the other videos in this series, at this point of the year you house should be water tight and the gutters clear, but before the leaves start falling again there is one last thing you can do.
Now if you found last winter your downspouts got blocked, you may want to follow this very simple tip. Install a gutter guard at the top of your downpipe to stop it getting blocked. This is a gutter guard that you can buy from most DIY stores, or you can actually make them yourself using chicken wire. Insert into the top of the downspout to stop any debris going down, the water will free flow all the way through and avoid any blockages. You may want to consider a strip mesh to lay in the top of the guttering, to stop any leaves filling up in there.
Now remember, if possible, always get somebody to 'foot' the bottom of the ladder. If you're a little be unsure about using a ladder at heights, always get a professional to do the job. If you want any more safety tips on how to use a ladder, watch our Safety DIY video.
As the weather gets more chilly, you may find that drafts are a problem, so watch my home video on insulation and drafts, to make you home completely draft free. A great place to start looking is around all your doors and windows to see if they're letting any cold air in. Now if you find some gaps around your doors and windows which is obviously letting in the cold air, there is something you can do about it. You going to need draught excluders, these can be glued on or tacked all the way around the doors and can be finished along the bottom with a brush strip. Remember something as simple as a draught excluder can save you from excessive bills and a cold, damp house.
As the temperatures drop as we move inside, we use our heaters and boiler more, which naturally increases the chances of a house fire in the winter months. So take the opportunity in the autumn to check all your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working correctly and they don't need batteries changing. It's extremely important to have a carbon monoxide detector fitted in your home if you have a gas central heating boiler, or a gas fire or even a coal fire. Ideally you want the alarm to be fitted as close to the unit as possible, or at least in the same room.
There's a couple of checks you can do while you're up here in the loft, to make sure you're prepared for the winter. The first thing you need to do is check the insulation is 270mm in depth, if it's not and you want to do it yourself, make sure you check out my video on insulation and drafts. While you're up here in the loft, you should also have a close look at any pipes you have here. Make sure they're insulated and ready for the winter. If they're not and you want to do this yourself, you can find all the details on the same episode as Insulation and Draughts. Basically, the more you can do to protect your home from the freezing weather, the better you'll be when it finally arrives.
During the winter months, especially when the temperatures are freezing there's always a chance you could slip or fall, so now's the time to do something about it before it gets too cold. The simplest thing you can do is give your patios and paths a full clean before mornings get frosty and slippery. The less loose materials there are to slip on, the better. Anything you can do to make sure you've got a sure footing, will be helpful. So give your patios and paths a thorough clean each autumn. Also the time to make sure all your outside lights are working well. You increase the chances of having an accident if you can't see where you're going. Always keep your patios clear and well lit - give yourself the best chance of getting through the winter without a nasty accident.
Just following them simple steps, you can keep your house warm and safe during the winter right through to the new year.