Photo by Mikhail Koninin

The hazy days of summer are becoming a distant memory – so it’s time to pack away the barbecue set and get your home ready for winter.

The first thing you should do is safely store away everything you’re not going to be using in the winter months such as garden furniture, marquees and barbecue sets. Move them to a garage or shed and make sure that they will be adequately protected from cold, damp weather. Wooden garden furniture should be treated one last time before being packed away and should be covered with tarpaulin to ensure it stays in good condition. Any furniture that will be staying outside during the winter also needs to be covered up and weighed down to keep it safe from wind and rain!

You need to give the exterior of your home a thorough service, too. The onset of sudden bad weather can yield some nasty surprises, such as a leaky roof, blocked gutters or ineffective seals around windows. Give your home a once over; clear out the gutters, double check for any signs of damp and mould before the weather gets really bad! See whether the weatherstripping around your exterior doors needs replacing; if you can see daylight peeking through around the door, or can feel a slight draft, then you need to give it a touch up.

Service your heating system – make sure your boiler is in good working order and that your radiators or air vents are in good condition. The last thing you want is for your heating system to break down on you when the temperature is below freezing outside!

Checking attics, basements and crawl spaces for cracks, holes and any other wear and tear is a good idea. If these areas are unfinished then it can be an easy access point for rain water or cold air that will suck the heat out of your home and drive up your already-higher energy bills.

And there’s nothing like gathering round a roaring fire when the weather outside is frightful! If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace, have your chimney swept and your flue inspected to make sure it’s all working effectively.

By following these simple tips, you’ll make sure you stay warm and cozy all winter long!