plonkee money an english-er's thoughts on personal finance

January 2, 2009

a home fit for winter

Filed under: house — plonkee @ 9:20 pm

I’m one of those home owners who knows nothing about house maintenance. This means that on one evening when the room seemed to be getting colder and colder for no good reason I didn’t think anything of it for a while. Then when I checked the central heating boiler, it was flashing – that never looks like good news. I eventually managed to work out (with the help of the instructions) that there wasn’t enough water in the system and also how to fix it (turn relevant tap). That probably saved me £70 in call out charges from a gas engineer – there’s only so long I would be willing to go without heating.

I think I need to get more on top of this maintenance lark. For Christmas I received some DIY store vouchers and this time, I bought some sensible stuff – radiator keys so that I can bleed the radiator in my room, a draught excluder for the front door which opens straight onto the living room – as well as some new knobs for the kitchen cupboards (well, they were half-price and sort of needed).

Making an effort to improve the insulation of the house should save me in heating bills. I live in an end of terrace workers’ cottage, which means that there’s no wall insulation and it’s prohibitively expensive to fit some. It’s actually the little things that will have the most effect. I’m also doing things like closing the curtains promptly at night to keep the heat in, and shutting all the doors in the room that I’m in. I save money by using blankets, hot water bottles and keeping the heating on a timer.

Although I’m not really a winter or house person, I do know enough to keep the heating on very low (there’s a special setting on the boiler) to ensure that the pipes don’t freeze. As I’m sure you know, if they do freeze when they thaw out they will probably flood the house.

This constitutes my complete knowledge of how to make sure my house functions well in winter. If you have any suggestions, please let me know in the comments.

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