So in preparation for a winter as extreme as our summer became, here’s some tips from around the world:
Watch out for carbon monoxide: with the heating on and your boiler working harder and for longer, the risk of a carbon monoxide leak is higher. Install a carbon monoxide detector alarm (they are a lot like smoke detector alarms) near the boiler, and press the test button to make sure the batteries are good and it will sound out when needed.
Fresh air and sunlight: with all the doors and windows closed almost permanently throughout the cold months, it’s easy to forget how stale the air can get. Lowered levels of oxygen can lead to issues that go almost unnoticed; tiredness, catching illness easier and general sluggishness are a few. If you can, turn off the heating, put on a jumper and open a few windows during the warmest part of the day a couple of times week, and make sure you do get outside for a while every day. Also, open your curtains nice and wide and let the sun heat up your house for free. Don’t forget, vitamin D from sunshine is very important to our health and wellbeing as humans.
Keep balanced: try to keep the heating on a lower but steady temperature rather than keep turning it all the way down, then all the way up to compensate. Rather like turning the car ignition on and off repeatedly in traffic, it’s takes more fuel to restart the heating and warm up a stone cold house by putting a high temperature on than it does to regulate the temperature to keep it comfortable.
Use non-toxic de-icers: it may sound like a small thing, but if one car at every house uses a toxic de-icer that’s a lot of nasty chemicals being washed off your car, into the road, into the drains etc etc. However, do not pour hot water on your windscreen: it could crack.
Use rechargeable batteries: there are likely to be power cuts. Save some batteries by keeping rechargeable batteries for torches and getting portable heaters that run on those big rechargeable batteries (similar to those used by cars). You can recharge he batteries when the power is on in case you need to use them.
Change your curtains: have thicker winter curtains and thinner summer ones. This also gives you a change of decor twice a year.
Close off unused rooms: turn off the radiator and close the door of any room that is not regularly used. There’s no point heating a room that is used for ten minutes a day.
And of course, the car: don’t forget to get your car checked over and ready for winter. Carry emergency supplies such as a shovel, water, biscuits, blankets and a battery powered universal charger.
For help and advice on risk management, contact us.