Winter Wisdom – 8 warming ways to prepare your household for winter

Winter Wisdom - 8 warming ways to prepare your household for winter

Winter is a wonderful time of year for those of us not so keen on extreme heat and having bugs everywhere. In fact, many good things happen in winter. It’s the perfect season for hot food, woolly socks and crackling fires. The key to a good winter is to make sure your home is ready for it. For suggestions on how to get your house in good order for the cold months, read this list of 8 warming ways to prepare your household for winter.

Bathroom shower

Household maintenance

Your house maintenance should be taken care of before winter gets its icy grip on your house, because when things suddenly or catastrophically go wrong it can take much longer to fix. It’s essential that your house is completely watertight – and pipes, drains and gutters are clear and free flowing. The endless torrential rain that often falls in winter and early spring can set back work on neglected pipes or other work that needs excavation…and bad weather can also prevent work being done on roofs or outdoor electrical appliances like water heaters. Imagine not having hot showers for a week in winter. No thank you!

Many companies clear blocked drains in Melbourne, for instance, and getting that done prior to winter’s arrival is a good idea, as some nights can get downright frosty. The last thing you need in the middle of a freezing night is a burst drainpipe.

Slippered feet up with a hot drink in front of an open fire

Light a fire

First and foremost, if your house has a real fire, then it’s time to break out the firewood! Make sure coal stores or log piles are well stocked during late summer and autumn. Organise deliveries early or get some wood chopped in readiness! Fires are a great, economical way to warm a house, and they can provide hours of entertainment. They give a room a real sense of drama and atmosphere. The additional burst of heat will also cut out any need for appliances such fan heaters.

Woollen blanket and patterned pottery mug

Scatter some blankets

Winter is a great time for snuggling up with some blankets. The best thing about blankets is that they not only keep you warm, but they can be dotted around your house and over the backs of sofas as decoration, then easily grabbed if you feel the chill. Distributing blankets around rooms in your home will mean you’re never far from a warm, cosy blanket in the dead of winter.

Bowl of meat stew

Roast away!

Arguably one of the best things about winter is the food that you begin to crave. When it’s 4ºC and raining outside, nothing satisfies hunger like a good roast dinner. Warming food like roasts, stews and hearty soups are perfect for not only warming you and dinner guests, but also make the whole house smell amazing.

Pair of thick, pale-coloured curtains

Heavy curtains

One thing that many people forget when winter-proofing their houses is how much heat is lost through the windows, even when the curtains or blinds are closed. If your house is freezing cold at night and you have large windows, consider buying thicker or lined curtains or blinds for them. This will keep more of the heat in and save you money through lowering electricity and gas bills.

Over the knee winter socks

Dress for the occasion

What will keep you warm in winter, no matter where you go? Woollens and waterproofs are the obvious choice for the cold season, but even within the protected environment of your own home there are things you can wear to keep the chill at bay. Thick socks on your feet will keep cold, tiled floors from freezing your toes off – and a quilted robe can mean the perfect combination of comfort and warmth.

Blue fleece electric blanketcredit

Warm the bed

Your bed will likely be too cold at night before you hop in, and even with pyjamas on this can cool you down before your body heat manages to warm up the bed and duvet. An electric blanket is the perfect addition to a winter bedding ensemble, and all you need to do is switch it on an hour or so before you hop into bed to ensure a nice, toasty night’s sleep.

Radiator thermostat

Radiate heat

Finally, there are ways of keeping heat in the less used rooms, like your bedroom.

While most of the evening might be spent in the common areas of your house, your bedroom will be where you retire to and unless you have put something in place to heat that room, it will likely be freezing cold. A radiator heater can be a great option for this, as it uses very little electricity and stays warm for long periods of time. Turn in on when you get home from work and your room will be toasty by the time you get to bed that night. Or perhaps fit timer switches that can activate heating systems precisely in specific areas.

With these tips in mind, the cold of winter doesn’t stand a chance at infiltrating your abode – so get out there and start winter-proofing your house today.

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How to refresh your out-dated home and be proud of it

How to refresh your out-dated home and be proud of it

When we’re proud of who we are, we reflect in the space we live in. When we’re proud of the home we’ve built for ourselves, we feel at home. Homes, however, require constant maintenance. It’s hard! When wear is starting to show in your home, it’s time to consider some easy DIY projects. When your windows or your doors are rotting and in disrepair, you need to reinvest in your home for more than just its kerb appeal. Your home means so much to you. Put a little love back into it (and maybe save some money in the long run).

Painting wood

Repainting

Nothing is a better instant fix than a fresh coat of paint. If your home has beautiful features like wood or brick that you absolutely do not want to paint over, a good power wash is the way to go. For wood, however, remember that unless you treat and take care of it, it will rot. Constant upkeep is an absolute must! In most cases, however, especially if your home or fence was already painted, a fresh, clean coat of paint will instantly brighten the look and feel of your exterior.

Tip: Ce sure to fill holes, fix cracks and other sources of disrepair before you paint!

Brass dolphin knocker on a bright blue door

Installing new fixtures

Rusting fixtures, or even just out-dated ones, can really bring down the look and feel of your home. Installing a uniform set of doorknobs, door knockers, and outside lights will really make your home look like new. Having a set of fixtures (meaning they all look similar, or are sold as a set) will make your home look like a professional did the job!

Cream room with light streaming through a window

Install new windows and doors

Single glazed windows and doors that let a draught in are often not only a bit old and sad looking, they can also cost you a lot. Updating them is an absolute must! This investment can save on heating bills in the long run, too, so over time, your investment will have paid for itself! Choose energy-efficient doors and windows, and find the right scaffolding equipment and installation team for you. Sourcing a lot of the materials yourself, instead of through a builder, is a great way to save money (if you have the time to find the best deals). Just make sure that everything is to the correct specifications!

Watering plants in a garden

Landscape your garden

Nothing will make you feel more relaxed and at home than having a perfect getaway in your back garden. Fixing the cracks and getting rid of the weeds between paving is a quick and easy way to make your garden look well cared for. Replace any dead or sad-looking plants with architectural or flowering plants for a new look!

Tip: Buy flowering plants that will bloom throughout the year, so you’ll always have colour and interest!

Being proud of your home is something for which to strive. It means coming home and loving the feel of it. Keeping your home fresh and updated is how you’ll continue to be proud of your home throughout your life.

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3 Ways to decide if you need residential air conditioning repair or a new system

3 Ways to decide if you need residential air conditioning repair or a new system

It’s really frustrating when your air conditioner breaks down in the middle of a hot summer afternoon as countless people who it has happened to can attest. The first thing to do, of course, is to call in repair services. However, in some cases, the air conditioning system is beyond repair and the home-owner will need to replace it. It can be a dilemma making the decision between having it repaired or shelling out and buying a new air conditioning system. Choosing between the two can be confusing especially when you don’t have technical knowledge of how these systems work. Often, people opt for the wrong one – costing them much more than necessary.

To determine whether you should have your air conditioning repaired or invest in a new one, consider the following factors:

Air conditioning unit

  1. Age of the unit

This is the first factor you need to consider. Age greatly affects the performance of your air conditioning system. Air conditioning units often come with a longevity recommendation. When your air conditioning has a 15-year mark and it’s only 10 years old, you may opt for repair services like air conditioning repair in McKinney. However, if it’s nearing the 15-year mark, a replacement may be the best decision. Trying to repair a unit way past its recommended year of service can be a false economy, costing you more in the long run.

Air conditioning maintenance

  1. Cost of repair and replacement

Air conditioning repair may sound cheaper than having to buy a new one, but this isn’t always the case. Some repair costs, including service charges and buying spare parts could add up and may cost you more than a new unit. In a case like this, opt for a replacement. Or, when the need to repair seems to occur more often than the usual, the total cost can be overwhelming. Hence, replacement is the wiser thing to do. Be practical on this one and look at it over the long term.

Air conditioning repair

  1. Energy efficiency

There are a lot of contributing factors when it comes to energy efficiency. First is the working condition of your unit. If the unit doesn’t produce as much cold air as it used to even after series of repairs, it’s probably time to buy a new one. Energy efficiency is also about your electricity bill. If you notice your bill is starting to sky-rocket over time and the air conditioning is the only possible suspect, invest in a new one. Finally, consider your space and the traffic in the area. If an additional person or persons are using the room or if the space became bigger due to home improvement projects, it’s may time to buy a new one. However, if the above cases are not among your current situation, you might consider repairing it first.

When you opt for air conditioning repair, make sure you hire the best repair service firm. If you decide to buy a new one, find the unit that is right size and output for your needs. Also, check for the Energy Star label that proves that the unit is energy efficient.

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How to keep your heating oil costs as low as possible

How to keep your heating oil costs as low as possiblecredit

For many home-owners, the winter months are a worrying time. They worry about how much they’ll need to pay for heating oil. Fortunately, there are several ways to keep the cost of heating your home down, which is why we’ve written this post.

Buy from commercial sellers

Instead of automatically buying from your local domestic oil company, try commercial fuel suppliers as well. Many of them are happy to sell to domestic customers, as well as business owners. Usually, their prices are very competitive.

Buy your oil early

When possible, buy your heating oil early. Buying before the rush is the best way to avoid paying more than you need to.

However, you need to bear in mind that the cost of heating oil fluctuates throughout the year. Unfortunately, this sometimes means that buying your oil in the summer actually doesn’t work out to be cheaper.

However, most years, this approach does work. Because demand is lower during the warmer months the cost of heating oil usually dips during the summer.

Oil tank maintenancecredit

Look after your boiler

It is also worth having your boiler serviced during the summer. Many heating engineers are not so busy then. As a result, many self-employed engineers offer a discount to those customers who have their boilers serviced during the warmer months.

Having your boiler serviced on a regular basis will also save you money. This is because a properly maintained boiler works more efficiently. It’s also less likely to break down and need replacing.

Not to mention the fact that an unserviced boiler represents a safety hazard. Every year, hundreds of people die because they breathe in carbon monoxide emitted by a faulty boiler. Dozens more die in boiler explosions. In most of these cases, it turns out that the boiler involved hasn’t been properly maintained.

Don’t overheat your home

An awful lot of home-owners waste heating oil by keeping their home too hot. Studies show that if you turn your thermostat down by one degree every couple of weeks, most people will not notice the difference – at least not at first. Often, by the time they do realise that the house is cooler, the thermostat has already been turned down by four or five degrees, which significantly reduces the amount of oil that’s being consumed. Typically, for every degree you reduce your thermostat by, you save 1 or 2% on your fuel bill.

Basement oil tankcredit

Keep the heat inside your property

The other step you need to take is to insulate and draught-proof your home. It doesn’t take long to do, and it’s a job that many people can do themselves. You can find out more about how to insulate a house from this page. The information in this article will prove especially helpful for those who are living on a tight budget.

Buying your heating oil at the right time and shopping around for the best price are both important. However, it’s being careful not to consume too much fuel and making the best use of the heat that you generate that makes the biggest difference, and keeps your costs down.

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How to keep your home free from termites

How to keep your home free from termites

You may be surprised at just how much damage to your property termites can cause. It may take time for the damage to be done but the problem with termites is that you do not always know they are around until the damage begins to show. This is why it’s so important to keep a check on termites and try and prevent them from invading your property.

One of the most important things you can do to keep termites away is have regular inspections carried out by a Lexington exterminator. This is especially important if you live in an area where there is a high incidence of termite infestation. Early identification of a termite problem can be a very important step in getting rid of the problem before too much damage is caused. There are also some actions you can take to make termite infestation less likely; let’s take a look at some of them.

termite traincredit

Eradicate warm and damp areas

Termites enjoy a warm and damp environment so you should not give them one. You should keep leaves and other debris away from the side of your home to prevent water from gathering. You should also ensure that gutters and drainpipes are intact and clear. This stops water from overflowing and leaking into your home. If you have crawlspaces in your home you need to make sure that air circulates so that moisture does not build up.

Detailed view of termitescredit

Keep wood away from your home

If you store wood outside of your home you should make sure that it is not stored close to the exterior walls of your property. You should also make sure that it is stored off the ground. This helps to prevent it becoming an access point for termites.

Door frame destroyed by termite infestationcredit

Make sure any possible entry points are filled in

You may be surprised at how easy it is for termites to gain entry to your home through cracks and gaps in the exterior. These potential access points can be tiny and pests will still get in. you need to examine the exterior of your home and identify any cracks that may be present. You then need to fill in the gaps to help prevent termites from getting in.

Remember that it is not always obvious if termites are present in and around your property; you may notice tell-tale signs such as termite tubes, but this is not always the case. This is why it’s so important to take preventative measures to try and stop a problem from occurring. If you pay attention to the tips we’ve provided you can hopefully ward off a termite infestation.

This isn’t a forgone conclusion though, and it’s always a good idea to have professional inspections carried out on a regular basis. If you have this work completed, you have the peace of mind of knowing that your home is free from the potential devastation that a termite infestation can cause.

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Autumn roofing maintenance tips

Autumn roofing maintenance tipscredit

The autumn is an ideal time of year to head up onto your roof and check what’s going on up there. In doing so, you can be alerted to any problems that are starting, and you can hire a local roofer to make repairs before the long, hard, and damaging winter approaches. The weather is ideal, it’s the right time to do some cleaning and maintenance, and you can rest easy during the rest of the year, knowing that your roof will be able to withstand the elements. So keep reading to learn about a few autumn roofing maintenance tips to get started.

Roof gutter with mesh litter guardcredit

Clean out the gutters

First, get into the gutters and downspouts surrounding your home and make sure that all of them are totally clear of debris. You may want to wait until the leaves have all fallen off of the trees so you can remove them as well before the winter hits. The key is to ensure that everything drains smoothly, without any obstructions. If you have to, install some gutter guards, as they’ll make this task much easier and save you time every year.

Wooden roof tilescredit

Check the roof’s covering

Next, head onto your roof with care so you can carefully inspect it to ensure that it will be able to withstand all of the harsh elements that will come its way when winter hits. For example, if your roof is tiled, check for any broken or cracked tiles, as these would need to be replaced before winter. On the other hand, if your roof is made of metal, look for any indications that the metal is warping, rusting or blistering, as those problems will also need to be addressed before winter. If you’ve inspected your roof and noted that a lot of the slates need to be replaced, or there’s a lot of damage throughout the entire roof, you may need to replace the whole thing.

Hole in a wooden roofcredit

Look for any signs of water damage

In addition to looking at your house’s roof from the outside, you also want to take a look at it from the inside. Look at the interior of the roof to search for any signs that there’s water damage anywhere. Small signs of this type of damage may be identified during this inspection, but because it is the autumn, you’ll be able to have them fixed right away, before the winter can cause further damage with its ice and snow. Remember, a small leak could turn disastrous once heavy rains or other harsh elements come into play.

Repairing roof flashingcredit

Inspect the chimney, pipes, and skylights

If you have any skylights, pipes, or a chimney on the roof of your home, you should also check any of the flashing that surrounds them to ensure that everything is in good enough condition to make it through the next few seasons.

With the tips above, you can make sure that your roof is in the best shape possible every year in the autumn. When the winter hits, you won’t need to worry at all about the integrity and strength of your roof, and you and your family will be protected from the elements.

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