Winter in Australia brings a variety of safety hazards as a result of severe storms, heavy rainfall, and freezing temperatures so it’s important to guarantee your comfort, health and safety by preparing your home for the months ahead.
Read on for some simple tips on how to get your home ready for winter and save energy in the process!
Check For Leaks And Drafts
Sealing air or even water leaks around your home is an easy task which will prevent cold spots, and improve energy efficiency by stopping heat from escaping. This will help you save money on your bills as unsealed homes are vulnerable to expensive heat loss.
Check your home’s windows for any gaps or damaged seals and look under doors for daylight or other signs of wide openings which should be sealed off. Another way to spot harder to find leaks is with the ‘candle test’. Walk around your home with a lit candle and hold near places you may suspect have a leak. If the flame starts to flicker, you have found a leak which needs attention.
Declutter Your Gutter
As the trees have now shed their last leaves, it’s an important time to get on top of things and clear out your gutters before the storms begin. Clogged gutters prevent rain drainage and can result in household leaks and damage to the foundations.
Making sure it’s a clear day for safety reasons, use gloved hands to move debris into a bucket, hosing down your gutters once complete to clear anything you may have missed. This will also identify any holes or leaks in your downpipes which will need to be replaced before it’s too late.
Get Storm Ready
Be prepared for the worst by putting together an emergency kit. Ensure you are stocked up with the essential items such as candles, matches, lighters, extra batteries, a battery-powered radio, a first-aid kit and extra blankets in case of a severe storm and blackouts. Keep your devices charged up when possible, and have fun family games available to play by candle or torch light.
Clean and Repair Air Vents and Filters
Before you begin to crank up the heating in your home, it is vital to clean out the build-up of dust and allergens in your air vents and filters. Not only will this keep your family safe and healthy, but it will also save you money on heating and cooling.
Clean vents using a vacuum with a brush attachment and wipe with a dry microfiber cloth to remove any remaining mould and dust. It is also a good time to get your heating system checked by a professional to avoid having to wait for repairs in the middle of Winter.
If you haven’t done so already, replace the batteries on your smoke alarm and test any electrical heating appliances such as heaters and electric blankets for any faults or damage.
Sort Through Wardrobes
Clean out and organise your wardrobe by putting summer clothes away and bring out your coats and scarves. A good tip is to not pack all your summer clothes away as Australian weather can be very temperamental! Donate any old or unwanted clothes to charity to help free space and keep your wardrobe organised.
With the change of the seasons, it’s time to store away your warm-weather bedding and bring out the blankets! Replace your bedsheets with cosy flannelette or linen sheets and layer with blankets and fluffy throws for added comfort and warmth.
Cover Hard Floors
If the floors in your home are tiles, hardwood or concrete, try adding a rug for added warmth. Hard floors are not only cold to walk on but they also do not hold in any heat. Adding a rug will help with heat retention and make your room cosy.
Cover Your Windows
In winter, up to 40% of heat in your home escapes through uncovered windows. Keep your windows covered to insulate your home and prevent heat loss. This is an energy-efficient way to keep your home warm and save money on your bills.
If your windows are lacking in the window-covering department consider investing in some layered or insulated curtains or roller blinds. You can also pick up window insulation kits from hardware stores or online.
Opening your window coverings to let your home soak in the sun is another great way to heat your home, however, by the time you come home to close them, the heat has already escaped! Using sun sensors can assist with this by raising and lowering/opening and closing your window coverings depending on the amount of sunlight.
You should also remember to change the scheduling on your automated system, programming your blinds or curtains to open later on the weekends so you can stay in the warmth of your bed a little longer.