- Boiler / heating check – It’s a pain I know but now is the time to get your boiler checked / serviced. Otherwise sod’s law dictates that it will stop working during the coldest week of the year at the same time everyone else’s does and when the engineers are fully booked.
- Draught excluders – So simple but often overlooked. Make sure you have the tools to keep out those bothersome breezes! I use draft excluder’s, and made sure the keyholes are covered. It’s amazing what a difference this makes.
- Dampness – Mould & mildew love this time of year, cold outside and warm inside. Make sure you leave enough room on exterior walls for air to circulate and deal with any problems straight away. A humidifier can help remove excess moisture from a room, particularly during this cold weather when you really don’t want to have your windows thrown open.
- Keep some bottled water in – last year thousands of homes found themselves without water after the prolonged cold snap played havoc with pipe work. Make sure you have some bottled water in (2litre value bottles are fine) and fill your kettle on a night-time. Nothing starts your day off badly like no water and no hot coffee!
- Power cuts – Sadly these can be all too common, especially in rural areas, during the winter. Make sure you have torches (with new batteries!) where they can be easily accessed and candles and matches. Do bear in mind the safety aspects of having lots of burning candles about so ensure you have candle holders etc if you intend to use them.
- Appropriate clothing – This is an obvious one really but last year I was caught out. I had hats, and gloves (my eldest has lost 2 pairs already this year!) but dragged my feet getting new wellies and when the snow arrived everywhere had sold out .I had to pay way over the odds to have some sent with next day delivery. Get the thermal vests out and name everything!
- School closures – snow, power cuts, burst water pipes… all a real pain, especially as they can result in school closures. Make sure you are familiar with your school’s policy for closures. School websites post up to date information and local radios make announcements as they hear from head teachers.
- Consider alternative picking-up arrangements for days when schools are closed early or if you have trouble getting back to kids because of snow / ice.
- Travel prepared – Our roads took a battering last year with temperatures of -20 and the news was full of reports of people being stranded in their cards, even on short journeys due to being stuck in jams or breaking down. Make sure you have blankets, snacks, drinks and first aid kit, a mobile and a torch in the car during the winter.
Not an exhaustive list but important points to consider when preparing yourselves and your homes for Christmas.
Nicki Cawood, Freelance writer and blogger at Curly&Candid