A 10 point checklist to get your home prepared;
1. Check that your gutters aren’t full of weeds or leaves. Now is the time to do it as all the leaves are down. If they’re blocked and there’s a lot of rain, it’s going to make quite a mess apart from anything else. If the gutters and pipes are full of water that then goes on to freeze, it can cause the pipes to crack and break.
If there are tall trees in the garden, do get them assessed in case weak branches or the whole tree might come down in a winter storm.
2. If you have an open fire or stove, get the chimney swept as a build-up of soot is a fire risk. Even if you don’t use the fire much, there could be lots of twigs or a bird’s nest in there. Get the chimney sweep to check that all is as it should be
3. We lose a lot of heat from our homes from ill-fitting doors and windows. Now is the time to get some of those repaired. Putting a draught excluder by your exterior doors will reduce that cold draught coming in under the door. Pull the curtains on rooms that are used infrequently, for example, a spare bedroom.
4. If your boiler or gas fire hasn’t been serviced for over a year, now is the time to get it done.
5. Any exposed water pipes should be insulated. Was there any work done during the summer and left on the long finger to be finished when you had time?
6. Have a walk around your house and look up at your roof. Do any tiles look loose? The recent storms might have caused some minor damage that you didn’t notice at the time.
7. If you haven’t done so already, put away or cover your patio furniture and children’s play equipment. If you had bedding plants in pots, you can use the spent compost as a mulch on the beds. Wash the pots before putting them away until next year or get fresh compost and create some displays for winter.
8. If the ground is dry enough, give your lawn a final mow. Cut away dead flowers and shrubs. If you have dahlias in the garden, this month is the time to lift them. If you’d like more flowers in the spring, it is time to plant snowdrops, daffodils, tulips and other spring flowers.
9. If you have a holly tree in the garden, cut a few stems that have berries for your Christmas decorating. If you leave them in water in a cold place such as the garage, they should keep until Christmas.
10. Make your home look cosier too by buying a few cosy scatter cushions and a throw for the living room. Adding a couple of table lamps and dimming the main light will create a relaxing atmosphere too.