Stoke the fires to avoid a subzero home – advice from Modern Attics

We don’t need to tell you that it’s cold. You know that already if you’re living in the UK. The mild temperatures of October and November seemed to have tricked many of us into thinking it was going to be a mild winter… how wrong we were. It might not have gotten to the unbearably cold temperatures of last year but the winter looks set to pick up its pace this December and last long into January. Icy roads, hailstorms, 70mph gale force winds, hard rain, you name it we’ve got it to look forward to. And it’s only going to get worse.

Why all the concern?

We’ve been researching this problem and we have found that those aged 18-34 are the least likely to have made preparations for winter. This could be put down to inexperience or simply a lack of concern full stop. Many people in this age bracket have yet to own their own home and stick with renting and house-shares. However, it doesn’t matter whether it is your own home, rented accommodation or a home-share, this advice is universal…

Modern Attics wants to help prepare you for the worst of it. It doesn’t involve too much overhaul at home, so no loft conversions required here, but it will require you to do a little bit of work and preparation in order to keep the winter out of your home. Last year when the temperatures dropped and icy conditions took hold for what was one of the coldest winters on record over 3 million homeowners ended up with damaged properties.

As for this year, according to a national survey, 40% of homes in the UK are ill prepared for the winter of 2011/2012 and will be vulnerable to problems such as frozen pipes, boiler breakdowns, central heating failure, spreads of condensation and mould on walls/ceilings, iced over windows, cold draughts and so on and so forth. It sounds like a wintry apocalypse, but it doesn’t have to be so melodramatic a scenario.

So what can be done to avoid the subzero home scenario?

Through our years of carrying out loft conversions we have gotten to know how to insulate and protect a home.

Your first port of call should be the following

  • Oh Danny boy your pipes, your pipes are calling. Whatever you do don’t neglect your pipes! Insulate the ones that you have easy access to such as the attic based pipes. Any of the ones that are exposed are the ones most likely to freeze over. However, if your pipes do freeze, turn the water off and drain the system. You can thaw out frozen pipes with a hairdryer or a hot water bottles tied against the pipes with towels.
  • If you are away for an extended period of time make sure you remember to lag your cold water tank and keep central heating at a minimum of 12C-15C.
  • A trick that not many people know about is leaving their loft hatch door open to allow the warm air from the home to rise and circulate up there. This can help prevent your cold tank from freezing. It’s surprisingly effective.
  • Get your boiler serviced sooner rather than later. It has been known for a boiler to give out around Christmas time and make for a very chilly festive period indeed. Not all emergency boiler repairs are 24/7, so ensure you are up-to-date with inspections and servicing.
  • Loft insulation is a BIG factor here! We would know about this after all considering that’s a part of our service with loft conversions. The insulation should be around 10 inches thick.
  • Draught proof the gaps around the home from gaps beneath doors, windows and check to make sure your wall cavities are well insulated.

It’s not an impossible feat to give yourself a cosy ride at home this winter, it just requires planning and some work.

Contact us for further advice or for information on loft conversions.

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