There’s no denying that winter is officially upon us, and reports suggest that we are in for a harsh one this year. Just before you huddle under a duvet with a hot chocolate and a good book for the foreseeable future, it would be worthwhile taking a little time to winter proof your home. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to protect your home – and your energy bills – from the bitter chill.

1.Insulate

Windows tend to take the blame for letting all your lovely heat escape during winter, but in fact they only account for around 10% of heat loss. The rest goes out the walls – and the roof, which accounts for up to a quarter of heat loss. Making sure that your loft is properly insulated will not only have a startling effect on your energy bills, it will add value to your property by making it more energy-efficient.

2. Tackle the windows

That said, it would be better to avoid the loss of the 10% out windows if possible! It may not look smart, but for an extreme cold snap it could be worth covering your windows with bubble wrap. Simply cut the bubble wrap to fit the glass pane, spray a thin layer of water over the window and press the bubble wrap down snuggly. It only takes a few seconds to rip down if guests come by.

3. Give your heating system some TLC

When the weather is really bitter, it is a good idea to run your boiler for at least an hour a day (even if you’re away) to keep things ticking over. Boilers work best at around one bar, so if yours is running high or low, it would be worth your while to pressurise it now so it doesn’t run into problems on a frosty morning.

Individual heaters that run lukewarm may require bleeding. If you have radiators on external walls, you can line the wall behind them with aluminium foil to ensure that all heat is reflected outwards.

4. Clear the gutters

Clogged gutters can cause all sorts of problems including damp and frozen pipes, so take an afternoon to make sure yours are clear of leaves and other debris. It’s not a fun job, but better to do now before the cold really sets in.

5. Draught excluders

Sometimes the classics are the best! Make sure the gap below your doors are plugged up snugly. Rolled up towels or old blankets will do the trick, or you could make your own by stuffing the leg of an old pair of tights – or while away those winter evenings knitting or crocheting your own.