The Guardian announced that Britain is expected to experience its coldest winter in years, due to freezing Arctic winds that will cause temperatures as low as -11°C. If you and your family are planning on moving this winter, here are some important features to look out for in your prospective home.
Efficient heating system
One of the most basic things to check in any home this winter is its heating system. Take note of the kind of system utilised, as well as the safety precautions needed for it.
For example, forced air heating systems distribute heat throughout homes via air ducts. It helps to ask your realtor when the ducts were last cleaned to check on air quality, and to see if the ducts are sealed. Popular Mechanics magazine revealed that around 10 to 30 percent of hot air escapes from the average heating system with unsealed ducts, costing up to £105 in losses annually and can build up over time.
On the other hand, hydronic systems use a boiler to heat water, which is circulated throughout a home via copper or plastic piping. Ask when the boiler was last checked by a qualified heating contractor, since this is an essential step not only in terms of home maintenance, but also in energy savings, as we discussed in a previous post here on 1Van 1Man.
Additionally, see if the pipes are properly insulated to protect against the cold. This is especially important for pipes located in attics, basements, or near the outer walls, since these are more susceptible to freezing and bursting in extreme temperatures.
Having heating systems without good insulation is like pouring money down the drain. It is important to note that around a quarter of the average home’s heat loss occurs through its roof, making insulated lofts a low-cost, high-value investment in homes. It also helps to add a radiant barrier on top of having loft insulation to further prevent heat loss.
If the loft has a water tank, make sure that it is within the insulated area to allow heat from inside the home to reach the tank. This will keep water in it from freezing during winter.
Strong, pitched roof
Another important thing to check in your next home is the roof. Check for any signs of missing or loose slates or tiles, since just a single loose patch can cause damage to significant parts of your roof in high winds. In addition, small leaks can turn into bigger leaks once snow melts from its landing place on your roof.
Although some areas have building regulations regarding roof angles, make sure that your prospective home has a pitched roof. Market Watch warns that flat roofs are more likely to collect snow, making it more vulnerable to damage once the snow melts.
Check to see if the windows are double-glazed to protect against the cold, and if they are lined with weather stripping to repel winter drafts that can go inside your home. These can also be applied to the inside edges of doors. Storm windows can also increase energy efficiency, while providing greater flexibility for light and ventilation than double-glazed windows.
Lastly, it is important to assess whether your home is equipped with tools and measures for safety this coming winter. For instance, carbon monoxide sensors will be able to alert you if gas flues or outlets are blocked with snow or frozen over. Make sure your prospective home has smoke detectors, particularly in rooms with fireplaces. We mentioned in the post ‘Original Home Features to Look Out For’ that a fireplace is a great addition to any living space, but it is critical to ensure that your family can be kept safe from any chimney or fireplace incidents.
For radiators, it’s good to look for one fitted with thermostatic valves, which can adjust temperatures independently from room to room. It's ideal to have them properly covered as well, without affecting ventilation and heat distribution. Screwfix shows numerous radiator cabinets which could help prevent accidents. Because a radiator’s hot surfaces are a safety hazard, especially for children, it is good to enclose them within cabinets. They can even provide additional surface space for décor.
Did we miss any of your home essentials for winter? Share them with us below!