Preparing your home for winter

As we get older, our bodies respond differently to the cold which can leave us more susceptible to serious health problems so keeping our bodies and homes warm is very important. 

How to make your home safe and warm

With a little preparation you can stay healthy, safe and comfortable this winter. Here are some simple things you can do keep your home warm.

Draughtproofing

  • Draughtproof windows and doors that leak air
  • Apply lagging to any pipes and water tanks in exposed areas such as lofts, garages and utility rooms to stop pipes from freezing and bursting in the cold weather
  • Clear the gutters and drains of debris to prevent blockages and cold weather damage such as damp
  • The cold and wet weather can cause untreated wood to expand and rot, so treating windowsills will help to prevent this, fill in any cracks including any in the concrete and re-paint if needed to protect them
  • Find out if you are entitled to grants and subsidies for home heating insulation
  • Draw your curtains at dusk to help keep heat generated inside your rooms
  • Discuss with family and neighbours how snow and ice might be cleared from in front of your house if you will be unable to do this yourself.

Heating

  • Bleed your radiators and check that your boiler is in good condition and that it is regularly serviced
  • Keep your heating on a timer
  • Make sure your radiators are not obstructed by furniture or curtains
  • Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained and check that you have ordered your winter heating fuel
  • Only use gas or paraffin heaters in well-ventilated areas. You could suffocate if the room is not properly aired.

Using electric blankets

  • Warm your bed with an electric blanket before going to sleep
  • Electric blankets should be bought new and tested every 3 years. Replace your blanket when it is more than 10 years old
  • Unplug electric heaters and blankets when you go to bed
  • Never use hot water bottles in the same bed as an electric blanket
  • Don't leave electric blankets folded as this can damage the internal wiring

Fire safety

Check your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, change the batteries if required and book a home fire safety check by the London Fire Brigade.

Further information on fire safety is available on the London Fire Brigade website.

Flooding

If you live in a flood risk area check your flood risk and sign up for free flood warnings for England

Make sure you have adequate home insurance and pets are also kept warm and safe.

Find out more

For more information to help with keeping your house warm and safe you can visit Age UK’s Warm Homes Programme webpages and Wandsworth winter warmth service.