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10 Ways to Prepare for Cold Winter Weather

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Stay safe and warm, and protect your property from the damaging effects of bitterly cold winter weather with our 10 handy tips.

1. Prevent pipes from freezing

Insulating your water pipes is essential to prepare your home for the dropping temperatures. When water freezes it expands, which can increase pressure throughout your whole plumbing system. This can burst both plastic and copper pipes in your home and cause flooding. Water pipe insulation will save you money by preventing heat loss and preventing the damage caused by burst pipes and flooding. Pipe insulation can be purchased at your local Topline store and is easily installed.

2. Insulate your attic

If your home isn’t well insulated, you are wasting heat and money. Up to 30% of your home’s heat is lost through the roof, so a good place to start is the attic. If you are not sure what kind of insulation to use or how much you need, ask at your local Topline store and they will be more than happy to help.

3. Insulate walls

As 33% - 45% of your home’s heat can be lost through uninsulated walls, this is another important task to prepare your home for winter. Many homes in Ireland were designed with cavity walls, making them suitable for bonded bead cavity wall insulation. This method uses small beads that are injected into the wall cavity and only take a few hours to install. Homes with solid walls can use external insulation or internal dry lining.

If your property was built before 2006, you may be eligible for a grant to help with the cost of improving the insulation in your home. You can enquire with your local council or look up the Better Energy Homes Scheme online for more information.

4. Clear gutters

Clogged gutters prevent proper water drainage, which can damage your property. If rain and melted ice is not allowed to flow away easily, it can leak into your home and cause water damage. Before winter, clear away any debris such as fallen leaves from gutters and make sure down pipes are also clear. For step-by-step instructions, see our guide: How to Clean a Gutter.

5. Clear vents & clean chimneys

With the weather getting colder, you will most likely light the fire more frequently. With this also comes the increased risk of deadly carbon monoxide poisoning and expensive chimney fires. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a lethally poisonous gas that is produced when carbon fuels such as coal or wood do not have enough oxygen to burn. This odourless gas can be prevented by ensuring all chimneys and flues are cleaned regularly and that vents are never blocked. A clean chimney is also essential to prevent chimney fires. Carbon monoxide detectors/alarms are available in Topline hardware stores and provide peace of mind.

6. Prepare your car

It is easy to forget that your car also needs to be made winter-proof. The water reservoir for washing your windscreen should be filled up to the maximum mark and correctly mixed with an anti-freeze solution. Always make sure you can see properly out of your windows before embarking on a journey. Carry de-icer and a screen scraper in the car to help you clear your screen when you are in hurry. Check the tread depth and pressure in your tyres. Car tyres should be above the minimum legal tread depth of 1.6mm, and if you are unsure of the correct pressure (PSI) for your tyres, enquire with a mechanic.

7. Block draughts

Did you know, 20% of your home’s heating can be lost through air draughts around windows and doors? This is an expensive problem that is inexpensive to fix. There are many draught-proofing products available at your local Topline store such as internal and external door seals, brush covers for letterboxes, and silicone for windows.

8. Have your heating system serviced

When it’s cold outside the last thing you want is for your heating system to break down. Have your heating system, weather it is oil, solid fuel or geothermal, serviced by a professional. It is important to have your boiler serviced annually to ensure it is operating properly. Boiler/heating system servicing should only be carried out by a qualified and experienced technician.

9. Keep rodents out

As the temperatures drop, rodents will start looking at your home as a warm and cosy place to stay during the winter. Prevent mice and rats from entering by filling any holes or gaps that may lead into the house. Do not leave out food that may attract rodents. Store food in metal, plastic or glass containers with tight lids.

10. Pet safety in the cold

Don’t forget your beloved outdoor pets as the frost sets in. If you can’t bring them in out of the cold, ensure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and unfrozen water to drink.

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