Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
1:00 AM 13th January 2024

13 Jobs To Do Around The Home And Garden During Winter Months

Image by R. E. Beck from Pixabay
Image by R. E. Beck from Pixabay
As the weather becomes colder, Toolstation have shared essential home maintenance jobs which can be completed safely indoors to stay warm and essential garden tasks to keep your plants safe.

Danielle Robinson, Heating and drainage category manager at Toolstation has recommended homeowners undertake the following tasks in the home before winter strikes.

1. Draughtproof Windows and Doors – 80% of builders and construction workers on the Toolstation panel recommended homeowners should consider draught-proofing their homes. "Draught-prone doors and windows can cause a lot of heat to escape from home increasing energy consumption and bills. For windows, you can buy draught-proofing strips that can be fitted around the frame of the window to fill in any gaps.

"For doors, you can attach draught excluders to the bottom to plug the gap between the door and the floor. These are most commonly heavy-duty brush strips for interior doors and rain guards for exterior doors."

2. Inspecting Pipes after extreme cold weather conditions – “Following a cold snap or extreme cold weather it is crucial to inspect your plumbing for any signs of distress. Frozen pipes are more prone to burst which can unleash a torrent of water damage upon your home and may leave you without water. If you notice any visible damage along a pipe, spot a bulge developing or hear unusual noises you should seek the advice of a professional plumber”.

If your pipe is frozen, you’ll need to slowly defrost it over around 30-60 minutes. There are a few methods for defrosting a frozen pipe, such as using a hairdryer, heat tape, hot water bottles, or placing a space heater nearby. Turn the cold tap on before beginning the thawing process.

Never attempt to use a naked flame to thaw the pipe, as this can cause permanent damage and potentially start a fire. You’ll know the pipe is defrosted once your water starts to flow freely through the tap.

3. Cleaning your drains – “ You can prevent blockages by avoiding putting food scraps down the sink. Sink strainers catch most food from entering the pipes. Unfortunately food particles and grease may still pass through. Cleaning your drains prevents clogs and build ups of water which can put additional pressure on your plumbing. To keep your drains in top condition you can clean them by using a plunge to dislodge stubborn clogs. You can also use a drain unblocking cleaning fluid to help dissolve any grease”.

4. Getting the boiler serviced - 85% of plumbing and heating specialists see an increased call out during winter. The earlier you can get your boiler checked the better. I would recommend getting the boiler service before the temperature starts to drop as you start to use the central heating more. You should get your boiler checked over by an expert. If there are any issues they can be fixed before it’s needed most throughout the wintertime.

You should look to get your boiler serviced once a year, and it typically costs £100 depending on the type and age.

As for the garden jobs, Matt Kent, landscaping category manager at Toolstation, recommend that homeowners do the following:

5. Prevent ponds from freezing over - Frozen pond water doesn’t initially sound like much a concern to many homeowners although if you’ve got a pond or water feature, ice expanding and contracting, with temperature changes, can put stress on pond liners causing it to tear or leak. Frozen ponds can also be a safety hazard for children or pets. Make sure the pond pump is functioning to help keep the water circulating which should prevent it from freezing solid.

6. Trimming large plants – Heavy snow and strong winds can cause large branches to break potentially damaging your home and may injure people. Trimming back the large plants ahead of storms reduces the surface area exposed to the wind, making them less likely to break.

7. Covering plants that are sensitive to cold – A hard frost can have devastating effects on your garden. Not only does frost put stress on the hardier plants, but it could wipe out the more delicate flowers completely. However, there are several steps you can take to protect your plants from frost damage. One effective method to protect your plants is using garden insulation. Garden insulation helps regulate the temperature of your garden, insulating flowers against the cold by trapping in heat, but the reflective lining can help reflect the sun rays.

Rhiannon Moore at Toolstation advised getting a start on your spring cleaning in winter.

8. Checking your home’s electrical system - Electrical hazards and faulty wiring are often difficult to detect for homeowners with most cables and wiring are behind walls. Although they can pose a serious threat to your home and lead to electrical fires. To ensure that everything is working properly by getting your home’s electrical system inspected by qualified electrician. It’s not just for peace of mind, it may also be legal requirement for some. Landlords are required to have an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) at the beginning of each new tenancy to ensure the property is fit for purpose.

9. Deep cleaning carpet - While many people save their deep cleaning jobs until the spring-cleaning season, there are some benefits of tackling a few of these chores in the winter months instead. With more time spent indoors during the colder months, allergens and pollutants can quickly build up particularly after large family gatherings. This can be particularly irritating for those with asthma or allergies, as these allergens can remain on surfaces and become trapped in carpet fibres.

10. Remove water from hose pipes - water trapped inside hose pipes tends to freeze and expand in cold temperatures, leading to the rubber cracking. Over time this can cause splits in the rubber lining, damaging the hose. Make sure the hose is fully disconnected from the tape and remember to drain any left over water from the plastic spray nozzle at the end. It’s best to store the hose in either a garage or an outside shed away from the direct cold.

11 Painting interior walls - the winter months might just be the perfect time to tackle that indoor painting job. The lower humidity levels during winter creates a great environment for paint application, allowing for faster drying times and a more uniform finish. Although you should make the most of daylight hours as the shorter days can make it difficult to finish up painting jobs.

12 Bleed your radiators - With rising energy prices, many are concerned about heating their homes this winter more effectively. When air becomes trapped inside your radiators it can stop the water from circulating and heating up. Ensuring there’s no air trapped in your radiators will keep your central heating system running efficiently - getting you maximum bang for your buck when the heating is turned on. You can read the following guide for advice on how to bleed your radiator.
Lucy Trevelyan, home security category manager at Toolstation, added that homeowners should perform a security check on their homes as the dark nights set in.

13. Check Home Security - "Statistically, more burglaries occur during the darker autumn and winter nights so it’s crucial to double-check the security of your home to prevent any unwanted visitors.

"Check that all window and door locks are working correctly with matching keys as well as any exterior padlocks on any sheds or garages. Give any security cameras a quick wipe to clean the lenses and make sure to fully test the house alarm."