Prepare Your North London Home For Winter Winter’s is officially here, and with it, plunging temperatures and shorter days that make you want to curl up and relax, warm and cosy by the fire. As the coldness looms and you prepare to pump the heat, it’s important to protect your North London home from potential damage and address heat and energy leaks. These nine simple tasks will help you stay warm, safe and energy-conscious this winter. Sort out your home insurance Check to make sure that your home insurance policy is up to date and that you’re covered for winter-related damage. If it comes to sorting out water damage to your Christmas presents or fixing a leaky roof, you’ll be glad you had the right cover in place. Keep your pipes toasty Burst pipes are common during winter due to rapid freezing and thawing, potentially causing massive damage. The best way to stop this from happening is to keep your pipes warm with their own foam cardigan (called lagging), which will reduce the heat lost and insulate the pipes to stop them from freezing. Boiler Maintenance A poorly maintained boiler wastes more energy and costs more, and it also runs the risk of leaking carbon monoxide. Either get your boiler serviced before winter or change your old model for a condensing unit, which could shave off around £235 a year (according to the Energy Saving Trust). Insulation – more than just putting on an extra layer of clothing. About a quarter of the heat in your house is lost through the roof, so having good loft and wall cavity insulation could keep the house warm with less energy used. These improvements needn’t cost the earth, as there are a number of government grants and schemes that subsidise insulation installation. Bleed the radiators If your radiators are colder at the top than they are at the bottom, then your radiators have trapped air inside them that’s stopping the heat from circulating properly. It’s time to grab a towel and your special key and bleed that radiator! Bleeding the radiators releases the air, allowing the radiator to run more efficiently. Switch energy suppliers If your bills are still high despite these improvements, give your energy supplier a call and see if you can be put onto a more appropriate energy tariff. If that’s not good enough you look for a supplier that’ll offer you a bigger discount. There’s no disruption in service; all that happens is that your money goes to a different company when you pay your bill. Guttering As summer draws to a close, the leaves will start falling, and gutters and drainpipes will start to get filled with loose foliage. Once the blockage becomes too much, water will start to back up in the guttering and leak into the roof and down the walls of the house. Make sure your gutters are completely free from grime and dirt to minimise water blockage. Tree trimming Reduce the amount of foliage that will drop into the guttering, and will also reduce the build-up of snow on the tree that could cause damage from broken branches. No entry for draughts Those chilly winter breezes are wily things, and they’ll try everything they can to slip through the nooks and crannies of your home. Check the edges of your doors and windows for draughts, and you can either seal these gaps with self-adhesive draught strips, or get one of those funny draught excluders shaped like a snake or a dog.