Winterize house: six easy ways

Winterize house: six easy ways

Winterize house: six easy ways

From draught exclusion to masonry checks and warm scents, here’s our
all-inclusive practical guide to combating the cold.

Illuminate your space.
Candles are used in Scandinavian countries on an almost
daily basis. They\’re placed in front of open fireplaces or on windowsills for
instant atmosphere and warmth. The best are made from vegetable oil: these burn
more evenly.

makes all the difference when darkness falls early. Try hanging low-level
pendant lights above tables, and place up lighters behind furniture to create a
feeling of coziness. Switch to more luxurious fabrics and incorporate heavier
textures, as these keep in the heat and look great. Mix velvet, cashmere and
satin for comfort and snugness.

2. Remember
to insulate.
The right curtains will have a real impact on a room\’s warmth.
Choose bespoke versions and add a thick blackout lining, to keep energy bills

draughty windows with polyester curtain liners, such as \”Glansnava\” liners. These include
hooks that attach to the heading tape of your curtains or to your curtain rod.
They’re a good investment because they absorb heat in the summer, too.

If you have
a draughty home, nothing beats well-lined curtains, preferably an extra one to
two inches longer than they need to be so that they create a puddling effect on
the floor. If you’re invited to stay in a cold house overnight, take along a
hot-water bottle!

If you’ve
ever been to a northern European city when the Baltic and North seas are at
their coldest, you’ll have noticed, as you enter a bar or restaurant, a heavy,
felted wool curtain inside the door. It creates a warm feeling and
psychologically divides the cold outside from the comfortable inside.

Winterize house: six easy ways

3. Light a
Prepare your stove for winter by replacing loose or worn seals (the
glass-fibre rope around the doors that keeps them airtight) to ensure that it
burns safely and efficiently. Clean out the fireplace grate and have the
chimney swept before and after winter – ideally in September and May.

Make sure
that firewood is well seasoned before it is burned. It should have no more than
20 per cent moisture content – otherwise it’s more likely to produce smoke and
won’t burn as well. You can check your logs by using a wood moisture meter.

Invest in a
chimney balloon to stop warm air from escaping up the chimney and cold air from
coming in when the fireplace isn\’t lit. Chimney balloons are made of non-toxic,
non-flammable plastic. Obviously, you should pull the balloon out of your
chimney before you light a fire. If you do forget, though, it will just shrivel

The most
common complaint about radiators is that the bottom of them feels hot and the
top feels cool. This is a sign that they need bleeding: falling to do so will
make your radiators less heat-efficient and more costly and wasteful to run.
Start by turning the heating off. Once the radiator has cooled, locate the vent
it anticlockwise about a quarter of the way to let the air escape.

4. Get cozy
with textiles. 
Make a room
within a room: get a small tent and put it in the middle of your living space,
then fill it with blankets and duvets, a TV, a night light and your favorite
books. Pretend you’re an Arctic explorer snuggling up in your little \”home\”.

An easy way
to make a room warmer is to attach wool blankets behind curtains using cafe
clips – curtain-pole rings that incorporate clips. You can use recycled-wool
rugs from National Trust shops and clips from Ikea.

Buy a
four-poster bed — Lombok has a modern version and B&B Italia sells an
amazing one in its \”Maxalto\” range. Then customize it by hanging
curtains from the rails to create a snug den.

5. Check
your masonry.
Damp is a common problem, especially in older homes. As most
heritage properties are built from brick – a porous material – they should have
a damp-proof course (DPC) made of an impermeable material such as slate or
plastic, normally laid 15 centimeters above ground level to prevent moisture from
seeping into the brickwork. If you spot damp in or outside your house above the
DPC, don\’t ignore it. It could be caused by broken guttering which you need to
get fixed, or leaks, sometimes a result of trapped debris. Another explanation
could be soil outside your house that\’s at a higher level than the DPC –
perhaps because you\’ve added a new flowered. In this case, create a trench to
enable air to reach your walls. It\’s vital to prevent minimize further damp,
particularly as any snow or rain will exacerbate the problem.

Clean out
the gutters and downpipes outside your house after all of the leaves have
fallen in autumn. If they become blocked, the walls beneath can become
saturated with water, causing the disintegration of masonry and brickwork as
well as the onset of wet or dry rot. Thousands of dollars worth of repairs can
be prevented by spending 30 minutes up a ladder with your rubber gloves on!

Winterize house: six easy ways

6. Banish draughts.When it\’s chilly outside, try insulting your home with standard gaffer tape,
either in metallic silver or beautifully bright colors. The tape should be
placed on the joints of all the windows. Cheap and cheerful, it can be removed
easily when the days start to get warmer during spring and summer.

Check that
your home is airtight by lighting an incense stick on a windy day near closed
windows and doors. If the smoke travels horizontally, you\’ve located air leak.
Prevent these draughts by applying clear silicone or acrylic based sealant –
available at all large DIY stores – to any cracks in your window and door
frames, or to gaps around ceiling fixtures that may otherwise allow cold air to
leak into your home.

If you have
wooden or laminate flooring running flexible sealant between any gaps in the
floor and the skirting board can make a big difference to the warmth of your
home. For a draughty hallway, letterbox brushes and keyhole covers are simple
to fit. Another quick fix is to attach a radiator reflector, which will bounce
heat away from the walls and back inside the room. Radiator reflective foil – a
two millimeters thick sheet of foil faced polyethylene that cut to size and
then glue to the wall using plenty of strong wallpaper paste – is cheap and
easy to install.

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