Avoid paying high energy bills and being forced to make emergency repairs to your home this winter. All it takes is some planning and a little effort. Here are some of the top tips to keep you and your family safe and snug when the cold and wet weather comes knocking at your door this winter.

Prepare For Winter The Cheap Way

Clean your Gutters

Leaves and grime would have built up in your gutters during the summer months. If left in this state, gutters and drains can form dams that stop your drainage systems from working properly. This, in turn, could lead to water seeping into your home, which could present you with a whole load of other problems, not to mention additional energy costs. Save yourself the hassle of repairing a leak down the line by simply cleaning your gutters and drains now. Then, once done, run water through the gutters to check for misalignments or leaks that could also cause water damage when you can least afford it.

How Good is your Insulation?

It is very important for your energy savings to ensure that there are no air leaks in your home. In winter, warm air comes at increasing cost these days so don’t let the precious warm air inside, seep through cracks and disappear into the great outdoors. There are many sealants available on the market so plug up cracks and openings between your ‘unmoving’ house components like a door frame, and weather-strip to seal the ‘moveable’ components like an opening window. Seek professional advice if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you lack the funds to do so, Wonga cash loans can help you pay for emergency jobs that need doing before winter arrives.

Winter Lighting

The autumn and winter months of course produce less daylight. With safety and security such an important part of South African life, you can still use your outdoor lights without wasting money and energy. Outdoor lights are typically left on for long periods of time, so it makes sense to invest in energy saving products and bulbs to light the outdoor areas around your home. Buy CFL and LED flood lights that have been manufactured to withstand snow and rain. And to save even more on your energy bills, look for products that come with automatic daylight shut-off and motion sensors.

Use Heaters Sparingly

Older model heaters can be energy-inefficient. If your old model has a tendency to chew electricity, now might be the time, with the soaring cost of electricity, to replace it for a newer model that offers better energy performance.

Make your Fireplace More Efficient

A crackling fire can do wonders heating your home and keeping up your spirits during the cold, dark months of winter. But before you light that first fire, make sure your fireplace is working efficiently and that you aren’t losing most of the heat through the chimney. If you’re not clued up on fireplace maintenance, speak to a profession who is.

Don’t underestimate the Effects of a Hot Beverage

There’s only one thing more cheerful than spending a winter’s day curled up in front of a fire, and that’s curling up in front of a crackling fire with a delicious hot beverage. Scour the internet for sites that offer recipes for any number of winter drinks, from spicy, blood-warming beverages to throat-soothers and cough remedies.

Draw the Curtain on the Cold

Before it begins to get cold, take some time to properly seal any cracks around your windows. If your budget doesn’t run to a full weather strip, use heavy fully-lined curtains to keep the heat in and the cold out. Draft catchers in the form of cute sausage dogs and cool hedgehogs do wonders for keeping the cold air from seeping in underneath your doors.

Grab a Little of the Sun’s Energy

If your budget allows, there has never been a better time to go solar, particularly in light of ongoing load-shedding. But be sure to do your homework first and choose a reputable company that offers quality products, proper installation, product guarantees and ongoing maintenance and advice. Ensure you make the most of any subsidies you’re entitled to when installing solar power in your home.

Stay Warm the Old-fashioned Way

Invest in warm, high quality blankets for winter and don’t underestimate the warming power of thermal underwear that can be bought at shops that supply camping gear as well as some supermarkets. Hot water bottles are a great way to stay warm and cosy this winter. Knit, sew or buy at a local crafter thick covers for your hot water bottles. These cosy covers will help them to retain their heat for much longer.