Cool ideas for that warm, fuzzy feeling

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KEEP THE FAMILY SNUG: Turn your ceiling fan's blades to run in a clockwise direction after turning on your heat. This is especially helpful in rooms with high ceilings.

KEEP THE FAMILY SNUG: Turn your ceiling fan's blades to run in a clockwise direction after turning on your heat. This is especially helpful in rooms with high ceilings.

HERE are some hot tips for keeping the cold out from your home.

It’s a good idea to check your home and carry out any minor maintenance now before the cold weather sets in.

Housing Industry Association executive director of building policy, Simon Croft, says homeowners can do many of the minor jobs, such as cleaning gutters and checking for any damage to roofs (although take safety precautions).

But things such as repairing damaged roofing, cleaning the chimney or servicing a heating system should be done by professionals only.

RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY: Check to see roof flashings and abutting surfaces are adequately fixed-sealed.

RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY: Check to see roof flashings and abutting surfaces are adequately fixed-sealed.

Many top tips for preparing your home in winter are common sense and involve a bit of home maintenance.

Heaters and fireplaces 

There are some days when you simply cannot avoid a chilly home, it’s so cold outside.

But before you rack up the energy bill by bumping up the thermostat, check your home heating system.

Common culprits include malfunctioning pilot and ignition lights, and dirty air filters causing inconsistent heat from room to room.

Depending on the age of the heating system and the type of system itself, some may require a trained professional to service the system and ensure it is  working correctly.

Check chimneys and vents are clean and in good repair. It is better for a job such as this to be carried out by a trained professional.       

If your ceiling fan has a reverse switch, use it to run the fan’s blades in a clockwise direction after you turn on your heat.

This is especially helpful in rooms with high ceilings and it might allow you to turn down your thermostat by a degree or two for greater energy savings.

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Roofs

Check roofs for any damaged, loose or missing tiles-shingles that may leak during winter’s storms. 

If need be, hire a tradesman to repair any damage identified.

Also check to see roof flashings and around pipes and abutting surfaces are in position and adequately fixed-sealed.

Windows, door frames

If there are any gaps between window or door frames bigger than the width of a 20c piece, particularly in older houses, seals or exterior caulk can help to restrict unwanted heat loss. 

Some older houses may also have little or no insulation in walls and ceilings. 

While insulated walls would be extremely difficult for existing walls, some roofs may be able to accessed and insulation installed.    

Gutters, downpipes, drains

Checking  these around the outside of your home to ensure they are clear and removed of debris. It’s important to ensure water doesn’t build up in them and there’s a reduced likelihood of water entering the building during heavy rain.

Chores such as cleaning gutters and checking for any damage to roofs can be done by a home owner as long as they observe necessary safety precautions, however, things such as repairing damaged roofing, cleaning the chimney or servicing a heating system should be done by professionals only.

Many residents living in warmer states such as Queensland and the Northern Territory may not feel the need to carry out checks to their homes before winter.

But bear in mind it still gets cold and stormy in these areas in winter and many of these items are common home maintenance items.

More tips and advice can be found at hia.com.au