With April around the corner - we will find the morning air is becoming crisper, leaves are falling and the local farmer's markets are full of potatoes, plums, and pears. Your thoughts maybe turning to curling up on the sofa with a movie and popcorn, but before you get too settled, here are some home to-do's for this month to help you prepare for the colder months ahead.
Don't wait until the first cold snap to make these adjustments - in this April home checklist, let's look at specific ways to boost the comforts of home before winter arrives.
Make it A-Glaze-ing
Windows can be a problem area when it comes to securing a warm temperature in your home. Heat can escape through windows in droves, which doesn't just make homes uncomfortably cold - it impacts your electricity bill as you ramp up the heater to 11 to compensate for this.
One of the most efficient ways of combating this is by making sure the glazing on your windows is appropriate. Sustainability Victoria notes that double glazed windows can reduce heat loss in a home by up to 30 per cent compared to single glazed aluminum windows, and even better results can be achieved with triple glazing.
Double glazed windows can be something you install from scratch, removing the old glass, or you can add it to an existing window. The latter is generally cheaper, and can even be done with magnetic trips. It can also reduce noise in your home! Checking with a local window supplier is a great place to start keeping your castle nice and warm.
Pick the Right Type of Heating System
There are many different ways to heat the home - open fire, heat pump, even just putting an extra duvet on the bed. But it's important to know which works best for each part of the house. The Australian government's YourHome website notes that the main kinds of heating are radiant and convective.
While radiant heat tends to warm up people and particular objects by broadcasting the heat in a direct fashion, convective heating travels all around a room, warming the very air itself. YourHome recommends convective heating systems for smaller rooms, and radiant systems when you have a large room or a particularly draught-filled area.
If you have a large, high-ceiling room befitting of Winterfell or The Red Keep, however, then you might want a combination of the two types of heating. Remember there are other options like under-floor heating, but this might be a bit of stretch to establish on short notice. See what fits your budget and works with the makeup of your home.
Insulate the Ceiling
While air leaks are only responsible for 5 to 15 per cent of heat loss and floor and walls 10 to 20 per cent, up to 35 per cent of a room's heat can be lost through the ceiling.
So, this April it might be worth taking the time to specifically look at the insulation you have in your roof. Is it safe, snug and warm? If not, you might want to consider the appropriate insulation techniques.
Alternatively, you could try outside-the-box methods of circulating the heat around. This includes a reversible ceiling fan, which can keep the heat moving around a room instead of just dissipating into thin air. As always, contact specialists if you're looking to install something new.
Pack Away the Summer Clothes
Unless you are lucky and have huge storage in your bedrooms, now is the time to go through the cupboards and remove your summer clothes and put into storage.
There are many options for you here – if you have storage in another room moving the clothes in there is a good idea, or if space is tight, consider vacuum packing the clothes and storing them under a bed. There are also loads of great looking storage boxes you could buy cheaply and fill them with summer clothes and place on the top of your cupboards. While going through your clothes make sure you remove any items of clothing you haven’t worn over the last season and either sell them if they are good enough quality, donate them to your local charity or chuck them out.
This is also the time to go through the kids' clothes and take out the ones they can’t fit into anymore. Either hand them down to another sibling or perhaps a friend. Clearing out the kids' wardrobes and seeing exactly what they need for winter will ensure you only buy clothes that are required not what you think they need. In many parts of Australia, there are great mid-season sales on so now you know what the kids need this is the time to find some bargains.
Check Safety Devices & Plans
With heaters and fires starting to be used, checking your smoke alarms is a must. Make sure they are in working order and replace batteries as needed. Check the expiry date on your kitchen fire extinguisher a make sure you have the fire blanket handy.
It’s also a good time to revisit your family’s fire escape plan. Get the kids involved and practice this with them. Show them what they need to do, how to get away from smoke, how they find an exit and talk about signs to look out for.