We all have to MOT our cars, so why not do the same for your home this winter?
Preparing your pipes for cold weather may be the last thing on your mind in these challenging times, but making sure your home is ready is easier than you might think.
Here, we spoke with property expert Kyle, better known as That Property Guy UK, about his top tips for saving money and getting your home winter ready.
"Finding your stop tap is probably one of the most essential tips I can give."
Find an approved plumber
It’s a good idea to always have an approved plumber’s number to hand, as they’ll be your first port of call in an emergency. South East Water recommends using WaterSafe – a free online directory and organisation for qualified plumbers. All its plumbers are audited to make sure the work they carry out is of the highest standard. You can find one in your area here.
Locate your stop tap
Finding your stop tap is probably one of the most essential tips I can give. It’s normally located under your kitchen sink, but it could be hidden anywhere in your home. Once you’ve found it, it’s important to make sure it works. You usually need to turn it clockwise to shut your water off. If you can’t find yours it would be a good idea to contact your plumber.
You can also pop one of South East Water’s handy tags around yours. These include a space to write your plumbers name, so you don’t have to go looking in an emergency. Download yours for free here.
Protect your pipes
Lagging is a life saver when it comes to protecting your home. It’s a type of foam wrapping that will help stop your pipes from freezing and bursting in cold weather. You can pick it up at most DIY shops or order it for free here if you’re a South East Water customer. I’d recommend covering all of your water pipes – including those outside your home.
Keep your home nice and toasty
If you can, try to keep your home snug at all times. You can do this by putting draught excluders on doors or a thin sheet of card with tinfoil behind your radiator. I’d also recommend keeping your heating on low, even when you’re out of the house, to help keep your home warm and prevent your pipes from freezing.
Bleed your radiators
You can bleed your radiators yourself using a radiator key or a flat screwdriver, depending on your valve type, and slowly turning the valve counter clockwise until water starts dripping out. This will release trapped air and let hot water in – giving you a warmer home and cheaper energy bills.
Fix little leaks
Even small leaks in your home can make a dent in your wallet. Fixing your dripping taps and checking for leaky loos can save you money, water and stop your pipes from freezing. In fact, a leaking toilet could waste 400 litres of water a day and increase your water bill by £250 a year.
Check your water meter
Another way to tell if you have a hidden leak at home is to keep track of your water meter reading. Take a reading just before you go to bed and then check the meter before you use any water in the morning. If the numbers in black have gone up you might have a leak. Give your WaterSafe plumber a call for advice.
If you’re not sure how to read your meter watch South East Water’s video here.
Look after your boiler
It's not something we often think about, but it's really important to get your boiler serviced regularly. If you have a cold water cistern it’s also a good idea to make sure it’s insulated, covered and clean.
“Lagging is a life saver when it comes to protecting your home. It’s a type of foam wrapping that will help stop your pipes from freezing and bursting in cold weather.”
Take a look at more top tips and advice on how to look after those you care about this winter with South East Water’s Priority Services Register on its Winter MOT page.