8 Household tips for braving the winter chill 2016-04-04 DIY Cupboards South Africans are starting to feel the winter chill. As the cold season is fast approaching, it’s important to ensure that your home is winter proof and above all, provides a warm and cozy haven for you and your family. 1. Leak proof your roof If your roof is leaking, you’ll need to find the leak fast and have it fixed before the problem spreads to the whole roof and starts to cause serious water damage to the structure of your property. Once you’ve identified the leaking spot on your roof, mark the area and find the leak on the outside of the roof. If you can’t find the leak check for common problems such as poor flashing, blocked gutters or aging roof coverings. 2. Seal your windows and doors If you seal your windows and doors during the winter months, you can save up to 20% on heating bills. 3. Clean your gutters If your gutters are full of debris, water can back up against the house and damage roofing and siding. It’s a good idea to look for missing or damaged gutters and repair them. 4. Closed unused rooms Close all your unused rooms. This will help to reduce cold air circulation. Ensure all your windows and doors are closed properly, even the bathroom window. 5. Check your heating system Whether you have a swimming pool heater, an underfloor heater or a built-in heater, it’s important to check each part of your heating system. Inefficient heating systems will use more electricity so it’s important to have them checked out by a professional. 6. Invest in insulation Builders in South Africa will be forced to install proper insulation in new homes according to new building regulations. This will regulate the temperature in your home all year round and you will spend less on artificial heating and cooling. It’s a good idea to get a home maintenance professional to inspect your home and provide you with an insulation quote. 7. Give your fireplace a good clean If you have a fireplace and rely on it to stay warm in winter, now would be a good time to clean out last year’s ashes. It would also be wise to stock up on new wood for the winter and have the chimney cleaned once a year. 8. Insulate electrical outlets Power outlets and light switches can be a point of cold-air entry in your home. It’s a good idea to insulate electrical outlets and switches on exterior walls with foam seals available at hardware stores.