The Winter solstice comes on December 21st, yet the cold has been with us for some weeks already and has made its way into our bones by then. And although it's easy to say on a throttling Summer day that we miss the winter-time, the fact is we are never quite ready for it when it does arrive: Where is the duvet? Where is your warm woolly jumper? And what about that hat, to keep your ears warm?
If this is what happens to us, just imagine what will be happening to our home. Getting your property ready for the winter can sometimes be a bother, but it is most advisable if we wish to: avoid surprises and contingencies, save energy in heating the home and look forward to living cosily in our home throughout the winter.
So take a moment to look at this list and make sure you've ticked off the entire list, so your home can be fully ready for the winter!
1) Insulate yourself from the elements: check doors and windows and those gaps through which the cold creeps in.
Doors and windows are where our house lets the most cold in, or where the most heat is lost, whichever way you prefer to see it. Something simple one can do to prevent this is placing weather-seals in door and window frames.
These will only improve the efficiency of the joints and gaps. If we wish to truly prevent the loss of heat, we will need: double-glazing windows, walls that include insulating materials, a house that faces south... But these are really things we should think of before buying, or when planning a renovation for our home.
2) Prepare your garden: bring some plants in, put away the furniture and clean out the gutters.
You can't turn the heating on for the garden. It's important to bring in all plants needing warmer temperatures into the house and placing them in a place where the sun will find them and keep them strong.
One must also bear in mind that it's not just cold in winter, as other challenges such as rain and wind are to be reckoned with… You should therefore round up the garden furniture that you won't be using in winter and store them in a good sheltered place. If you also take this chance to clean out chutes and spouts and make sure all the channelling is working properly, your garden will be ready for the winter.
3) Get your heating checked.
Your heating system will need an check-up after having been turned off all Summer. If you have a heating that includes radiators, you should remove the air from inside the system, to ensure its correct and efficient performance.
The furnace also, will need a seeing to when it is turned on: make sure no indicator light is on, although the best choice is always to perform a manual check, which many have included in the service for free.
Bleed the radiators will increase it efficiency and help the maintenance.
4) The chimney too
If you're one of the lucky ones who have a fire place at home and enjoy spending hours watching the wood whittle down and the flames warming your home, you will do well to give your stove or chimney a thorough clean out. Remember that soot can decrease the efficiency of your fireplace, and although you can give it a sweep yourself, a periodic visit from a professional is also necessary.
5) Get your winter clothing ready: blankets for the sofa, jackets on the coat-hanger...
Having a nice folded blanket on the sofa is one of the best steps you can take in winter. Especially because when you most need it will be the moment when you least feel like getting up to go and get it.
Taking out the winter jackets from their storage and keeping them close and handy will also minimise inconvenience when heading out in a rush.
6) Build up stockpiles of tea, hot chocolate... and get ready for hibernation!
There are animals who prepare for Winter throughout the Spring and Summer. For you it's enough to head to the supermarket and get a load of tea bags, biscuits, cocoa, and a long et cetera of all those warm drinks (and the foods that go with them) that we so crave on those long dreary winter afternoons and evenings.
With a cup of hot chocolate in your hand and a book in the other, hibernating at home is not that bad!