20 home checks you need to do NOW to avoid costly winter repairs

IT’S no surprise that winter brings the highest fuel bills, but it is also the most costly season for household maintenance and repairs.

To avoid an icy chill blowing through your bank account, hier is 20 essential winter checks you can carry out now.

Here are 20 essential winter checks you can carry out now, including in your garden

Here are 20 essential winter checks you can carry out now, including in your gardenKrediet: Getty

TUIN

CLEAN out gutters: Blocked gutters can lead to damp on inner walls, so check them now and after the leaves have fallen. A professional gutter clean costs around £135 — much cheaper than the average £1,000 to repair damp damage.

Unblock drains: Dig out debris now and regularly through winter to prevent flooding and to keep your sewage system working efficiently.

Trim trees and bushes and weed paths: Fallen leaves and weeds can cause mould or crack pathways, making them more hazardous in winter. Tackle them now before the chill sets it

Secure your shed: Ensure all sheds and outbuildings are well maintained with the windows and roofs repaired. Mark valuable items, such as patio furniture and lawn-mowers, with your postcode and them lock away if you are out for long periods.

Mend fences: Walk around your fence to check for any gaps or splits. Clear away debris and treat the timber with a weathproofer. Ensure posts are strong and sturdy.

HOUSEHOLD

If your home is prone to damp, you should consider buying a dehumidifier

If your home is prone to damp, you should consider buying a dehumidifierKrediet: Getty

INSULATE your pipes: Protecting pipes in garages and colder rooms costs around £20 but is well worth it. Burst pipes can cause flooding damage, averaging £7,500 to clear up.

Check for loose tiles: As well as letting rain in, loose roof tiles can fly off in stormy ­weather and cause serious damage. Fix before the winter winds arrive.

Maintain windows/doors: Replacing a window frame or front door sets you back around £300, so repair cracks with sealant which costs less than £5 a tube. Got a wooden window or door? Add a new coat of paint for extra protection.

Dodge the damp: If your home is prone to damp, you should consider buying a dehumidifier. They cost from £50 but can prevent mould and damp. Move furniture away from the walls to allow air to flow.

Lag your loft area: Insulating your loft costs an average of £300 to £400 but you’ll get the cash back in around two years through lower energy bills. Use insulation at least 270mm thick. Work out whether it’s worth it for your home at bit.ly/3r6YrU5.

Insulating your loft costs an average of £300 to £400 but you’ll save on energy bills in the long run

Insulating your loft costs an average of £300 to £400 but you’ll save on energy bills in the long runKrediet: Getty

HEATING

Set your heating to 18C, the minimum temperature the NHS recommends

Set your heating to 18C, the minimum temperature the NHS recommendsKrediet: Getty

DON’T be mean – set to 18: Set your heating to 18C, the minimum temperature the NHS recommends. There is no need to go higher unless you have a medical condition. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that lowering your heating by just one degree could save you as much as £75 a year.

Check it’s working efficiently: Get a qualified expert to service your boiler and check the system pressure. It costs around £100 but can save up to £200 a year in heating costs.

Bleed your radiators: Balancing your heating system can save up to £130 annually.

Reposition your furniture: Move any heavy furniture, like sofas or chairs, that are blocking radiators. It costs nothing but allows more heat into the room. Got shelving above your rads? Add foil to the bottom of ledges to reflect heat into the room.

Draught-proof: Air leaks through tiny gaps can see heat loss equivalent to a window being left permanently open. Seal any gaps around your windows and doors with caulking filler and fill in spaces between floorboards with a specialist product such as DraughtEx, which costs under a tenner.

fill in spaces between floorboards with a specialist product such as DraughtEx, for under a tenner

fill in spaces between floorboards with a specialist product such as DraughtEx, for under a tennerKrediet: DraughtEx

MOTORING

You can book a free five-point car check at Halfords

You can book a free five-point car check at HalfordsKrediet: Getty

GET your motor winter-ready: You can book a free five-point car check at Halfords or pay £15 for a ten-point assessment with their winter experts.

Test your tyres: To cope with icy conditions, tyres should be free from cracks, splits or bulges, and have at least 3mm of tread.

Winter wipers: Top up your screen wash reservoir with a screen wash that is effective down to at least -15C. Have a piece of plastic ready to place between wiper blades and the windscreen, to stop them sticking when the temperature drops below zero.

Switch on to electrics: Car spluttering to start? Get your battery and lights checked.

Be oil aware: Your motor’s oil level should be between the minimum and maximum marks. Check the dipstick and top up if needed. The coolant should also be between the minimum and maximum marks. But don’t remove the filler caps to top up unless the engine is cold.

To cope with icy conditions, tyres should be free from cracks, splits or bulges

To cope with icy conditions, tyres should be free from cracks, splits or bulgesKrediet: Getty