Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Keeping your home warm, toasty and cheerful this autumn

This is a contributed post that may contain affiliate links.
Well hello, summer! Wait, what? You’re leaving already? No, of course, you’re right. We understand. There’s only so much of you to go around and we’ve already had our share. No, it’s fine. Autumn will be here soon enough, and we’re just fine with Autumn. Grey skies, chilly weather, gloomy looking foliage… It’s practically the only weather we Brits are accustomed to anyway. Cheerio!

Okay, well now that summer’s well and truly gone we can start thinking about enjoying the autumn and, of course, preparing ourselves and our homes for winter. While we may be sorry to see the last of the summer sun, there’s a lot to love about the approaching season. The brisk yet bright and clear morning skies, the slightly smoky scent in the air, the ubiquity of the pumpkin spiced latte and the slightly indefinable feeling of optimism and good cheer in the air that seems to set in around this time of year. That said, the drop in temperature, comparatively dull and gloomy evenings and a slightly morbid feeling that comes with green foliage becoming brown and then skeletal can all lead to a feeling of sadness, particularly for those who are prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder. Yet, while we can’t do anything about the state of the weather, we can most certainly do something to ensure that the home and garden are warm, toasty, comforting and brimming with cheer no matter what the season brings. 

While the last vestiges of summer still hang in the air, now’s the perfect time to start implementing some changes to help you to make the most of your home in the coming cold…

Check that your boiler’s up to the challenge
Your boiler has probably been napping quite a bit over the summer months. You’ve used it to heat your water for washing dishes and the odd bath, sure, but your trusty servant has been able to take a bit of a sabbatical while you enjoy wide open windows and warm, breezy rooms. But since you’ll be coming to rely on it a little more over the next few months it’s a good idea to make sure that everything’s up to scratch with your boiler. 

If your boiler is getting on in years, now might be the time to think about replacing it. Leaving it until the last minute increases the chances of it failing in winter. If your boiler fails in winter, you’ll not only have to endure freezing cold while you wait for someone to repair it, you’ll likely pay top tier prices as seasonal demand rises. If your boiler exhibits the following symptoms, it may be time to replace it while prices are still reasonable;
  • It takes longer than you remember to heat up.
  • Your pilot light burns yellow instead of blue.
  • It’s emitting strange noises or smells.
  • It’s more than 15 years old.
  • Your home doesn’t feel as warm as it should.
If the cost of replacing your boiler at any time of year is too prohibitive to your budget, it’s worth checking to see if you’re eligible for a government grant

Check that your radiators actually… radiate
While your boiler is at the heart of your home’s heating apparatus, your radiators are where you should be feeling the heat. While snuggling up with your pets is a great way to keep warm, your furry friends shouldn’t be the ones doing the heavy lifting. Make sure that your radiators are functioning as they should by bleeding and testing them. If they aren’t getting as warm as they should be, maybe it’s time to replace them. If you don’t have the budget to replace them, however, a radiator additive can help them to get hotter without the need for an expensive replacement. 

Switch your ceiling fans
If you’ve been reliant on your ceiling fans to keep your home cool over summer, you may be happy to learn that they can also be used to keep hot air sealed in your rooms. Rotating your ceiling fans from anticlockwise to clockwise will push the warm air down from the ceiling instead of generating a cool breeze. While you are up there, it’s also a good idea to clean the blades with a soft cloth.

Walk on by your windows
Even if you have double glazed windows, they may not be keeping the heat sealed in your home the way they should. If you feel a breeze when you walk past your closed windows, they may need to be replaced. Not all double glazed windows are created equal and as the weather grows colder, state of the art windows may be your best defense against the cold. The British Fenestration Rating Council have implemented an energy efficiency scale from A++ to E and it’s a good idea to check what your windows’ rating is. UPVC windows have never been more versatile and affordable. Whatever your home’s aesthetic you can find perfect windows to suit your tastes. Not only can they keep your home warmer, they can keep out the harmful UV rays from the sun which damage your photos and cause your furniture to fade. 

Check out your loft
If you can brave climbing into your attic, it’s probably a good idea to check on your loft insulation to ensure that you’re not leaking your home’s heat out through your roof. If you see puddles in your roofing insulation or signs of animal infestation like tiny teeth marks, burrows or droppings, that insulation needs to be replaced before the cold sets in in earnest. 

Just because summer’s gone doesn’t mean you can’t have a bright and cheerful garden
We all know that spending time with plants and flowers is a proven mood booster and that spending time in the garden, either gardening or enjoying your morning coffee, can be very therapeutic. However, just because summer’s gone, doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from a bright and cheerful garden. Head on over to the garden centre and pick up some bright and colourful perennials that’ll keep your garden in bloom well into winter. Firm favourites include hardy plumbago, colourful anemones, pretty astors and crocuses. 

With the seasons are starting to turn it doesn’t mean that your home shouldn’t be warm, cosy, cheerful and gorgeous!

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