Time to weatherproof for winter
Winter is just around the corner - time for home owners to get weatherproofing!
The clocks have gone back and despite the unusually 'tropical' weather - winter is well on the way.
Although this week might have seen unusually warm temperatures as Britain received a welcome blast of tropical air, the experts say now is the time to be weatherproofing a residential property to guard against the effects of wintry weather.
Andrew Lowe of Direct Line Home Response 24 told the Independent's Kate Watson-Smyth that doing a "few quick and easy jobs" now can head off potential catastrophes such as a burst pipe.
Pipes should be lagged to prevent them from freezing and a qualified plumber should be called in to repair any leaks. Steve Roos of London-based IQPlumbing said earlier this week that plumbing issues like leaks need "fast and professional attention" to prevent the problem from escalating.
Other tips for keeping Jack Frost away from pipe work include leaving plugs in sinks during frosty weather to stop water from freezing in the system and leaving the heating on a low setting for home owners that are going away.
Lower temperatures outside can also mean higher heating bills and with many household budgets already stretched by the economic downturn, cutting waste by ensuring a house has tip-top energy efficiency has taken on greater importance this year.
Ms. Watson-Smyth noted that the average yearly energy bill for British households has risen 18 per cent to £1,239 in the past year.
She said the "most important investment" for residential property owners looking to cut these outgoings by improving energy efficiency is a new boiler. This can also be one of the most expensive investments a home owner can make, but it will save the most money in the long run, she noted.
According to the Energy Saving Trust (EST), people should consider replacing their boiler if it is 15 years old or more. When changing a boiler, residential property owners should ensure they use a qualified Gas Safe Register engineer to carry out the installation.
Other home improvements that will boost energy efficiency include adding double glazing and ensuring lofts are properly insulated.
The EST estimates that if every home in Britain had 270mm of loft insulation, annual carbon emissions would be cut by around three million tonnes and the money saved would cover the gas bills of around 770,000 families a year.