When the cold weather sets in there are a number of household tasks you should get into the habit of to prepare yourself and your home to withstand the next few months of wintry weather.
From general garden maintenance, saving energy and keeping your home warm, there are a number of simple things you can do around the house to make your home a safe and happy one this season.
7 jobs to add to your to-do list for a healthier, cosier and more efficient home this winter:
1. Keep drains clear.
When heavy rain storms hit you want to avoid flooding and water damage to your home that can result from blocked gutters and drains. Clean out gutters, down pipes and drains and rake up leaves and bark to avoid further blockages, adding them to your compost pile or green waste bin as you go.
Tip: Before adding leaves to your compost pile rip them up or shred them with your lawn mower to speed up their decomposition. The leafy compost you’re left with makes for a great nutritious mulch for the garden beds come spring.
2. Tidy the garden.
In cooler weather it can be easy to neglect your garden and let it run a bit wild. But winter is actually a great time to tackle a lot of gardening tasks. So rug up and do your best to keep weeds at bay, aerate the lawn with a garden fork (to allow moisture into the soil), prune back roses and deciduous trees, and remove any invasive or dead plants and potentially dangerous tree branches.
Winter is also a good time to dig up new garden beds or even a veggie patch. Try your hand at growing fresh cool season vegetables at home, such as broad beans, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, onions, snow peas, spinach, potatoes and turnips.
3. Fire safety check.
With the increased use of heaters, dryers, fireplaces and electric blankets in the winter time, the rate of electrical and unwanted household fires also increases (RACV). For you and your family’s safety it’s so important to check that your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are operational. It’s best to change the batteries in all your detectors once a year and update the unit itself every five years or so.
- Always place a fire screen in front of an open fire place.
- Keep clothing, curtains and toys at least one metre from heaters and fireplaces and never leave them on unattended.
- Clean out the lint filter every time you use your tumble dryer.
4. Heater maintenance.
If you use an open fireplace make sure you stock up on sufficient firewood to keep you and your home warm all season. Before its first use don’t forget to clean out the fireplace, ensure the flue opens and closes properly for ventilation and have the chimney swept by a certified chimney sweep if needed, to rid the chimney of any hazardous residue from past fires.
With gas heaters it’s important to have them serviced every one to two years and checked for gas and carbon monoxide leaks, faults and dust build up in filters. Having regular maintenance checks will give you piece of mind that you’re heating your home as safely and efficiently as possible.
Tip: If you have evaporative cooling or ducted refrigerated cooling that doesn’t have a heating functionality, close up your air conditioning vents in the cooler months to ensure the cold air from your roof doesn’t blow into and around your home.
5. Banish nasty bugs.
Unfortunately winter and cold and flu season go hand in hand. Good hygiene is the best defence to protect yourself and your family from nasty viruses every flu season. So, when winter rolls around it’s a great idea to be extra cautious and regularly clean surfaces in your household that you and others frequently come into contact with that can harbour and spread nasty germs. Wipe down your mouse, phone, tablet, laptop and door handles with an anti bacterial alcohol wipe or a lint-free cloth and detergent. It’s always a good idea to keep a hand sanitizer within easy reach at home and when your out and about.
6. Fill in the gaps.
For greater heating efficiency, check your home for any cracks, gaps and draughts around windows and doors that allow cold air to enter and flow through your home. In the average Victorian home if you add up all the gaps and cracks it would be the equivalent of having a 1 metre by 1.5 metre window open all the time, accounting for 15 to 20 per cent of heat loss in the home (Environment Victoria).
Prevent chilly draughts and heat loss by replacing window weather stripping and rubber door seals, sealing cracks with gap filler and placing a humble door snake draught stopper along the bottom of interior doors.
7. Warm up your décor.
If you have timber floorboards, chilly floor tiling or polished concrete, consider adding in a stylish floor rug or two. A floor rug not only increases comfort underfoot but it also acts as an insulator helping to reduce the amount of heat you lose through the floor.
It’s also worth bringing in a durable entry way mat, rug or hall runner to protect your flooring from muddy and wet shoes that will inevitably find their way into your home come winter. Invest in a boot scrubber or a waterproof shoe rack to keep dirty shoes at bay and save your floors from dirty footprints and damage.
By carrying out these seven tasks your household will continue to run efficiently and smoothly all winter long. All that’s left to do is put up your Ugg boot clad feet, snuggle up to a hot water bottle and roast some marshmallows in front of an open fireplace, at a safe distance of course!
Happy house hunting!
From the Homely Team