With autumn heralding the beginning of cooler weather it is time to prepare your house for winter.  Sam Funnell from Fine & Country Rugby gives tips on what preparation you can do for the big chill.

It seems autumn has well and truly arrived and soon falling autumn leaves will need to be dealt with, especially if they are a threat to drains and gutters. If moisture builds up in these areas, it can cause damage to your house. One way of reducing the amount of tree debris finding its way into your gutters is to trim back trees that are close to the house. Remember that autumn leaves can be useful. Consider creating an area where leaves can be left to create mulch. Build or buy a bin, fill it with leaves, sprinkle it with water and leave nature to take its course. When the leaves break down and become crumbly, they can be spread throughout garden borders. This will add important organic matter to your soil.

Do make sure that your boiler is serviced. Not only do you want to avoid the unpleasantness of a mid-winter breakdown, but a poorly maintained boiler can also become less efficient and use more energy. There is the safety aspect, too, as leaking carbon monoxide is a greater risk at this time of year. Energy efficiency can also be gained through insulating pipes to reduce heat loss. This will prevent them from potentially freezing and bursting.

Check your radiators. If they are colder at the top than the bottom, they need bleeding to release any air trapped inside. This will ensure they heat the home more effectively, potentially saving money on heating bills. Check your windows and doors for draughts. Any cracks that are allowing cold air to enter the house can be sealed with self-adhesive draught strips. If you’ve already been using these, they may need replacing. Alternatively, the old-fashioned draught excluders shaped like a snake are surprisingly efficient and now come in designer fabrics that can become part of your décor.

If your loft and wall cavities are not insulated, now is a good time to install insulation. Up to a quarter of the heat in your house can be lost through the roof, so it makes sense to consider these improvements. Check out the Green Homes Grant Scheme and you might find installing insulation is not as expensive as you think.

It’s time to organise your winter clothes organised. Make sure your coat closets are arranged for easy access. Children in particular are adept at losing one glove. Buy a couple of pairs of gloves in one plain colour so that when one inevitably goes missing, it’s easier to make up a pair.

Cosy evenings in front of the fire are one of the pleasures of winter. Make sure the chimney is swept and ready for use. Order a load of firewood so you have time to stack and cover it. While power cuts are rare nowadays, having candles and matches close at hand may still be useful.

It is important to spend time in your garden now to make sure your plants survive the winter. Pruning and cutting back along with mulching, fertilising and protecting delicate plants will provide the basis for a healthy spring garden. Plant spring bulbs so you’re ready for that early spring display. You can still provide some colour by planting winter flowering varieties such as cyclamen, pansies and polyanthus.

For advice on selling or buying property, please contact Sam Funnell on 07714 515484 or visit www.fineandcountry.com