Warm up this winter

Private Property South Africa

Brown leaves and grey grass, crispy air and shorter days remind us that winter is all but upon us. Now is the time to winter-proof your home!

Abel Mngadi, Head of New Business and Sales at FNB Housing Finance explains that now is the time to attend to your home, as properties are vulnerable to attack from the winter elements. Not only will doing so protect your home, it will save you money too.

“It’s advisable to do an assessment of the exterior of your house. This includes walls, windows, doors, floors and roofs. Have a proper look around and identify what needs to be repaired, sealed or insulated.”

Fill the gap

Shoring up gaps that could allow chilly drafts and even heat seeking rodents in is easy. Simply replace the frame in question or use expanding foam filler products, silicone or putty.

Gutters and drains also need to be attended to. These need to be cleaned of leaves and debris on a regular basis, especially in the wet Cape winter. Overflowing gutters and drains can drench walls and cause damage to your house.

Don’t forget your plants. Covering outdoor shrubs with hessian or burlap should help protect them through frosty nights. If you have potted plants that have been sitting outside all summer, now is a good time to consider bringing them indoors as there is a good chance they could die from exposure.

If you have a chimney and intend to use it, now is the time to make sure it’s in good working order. Cracked bricks, and rodent- and bird-nests, are all factors that can contribute to a blocked chimney and need to be attended to before you light your first fire.

The heat is on

As we all know electricity usage tends to soar in winter. According to Abel, there are a number of measures you can put in place to bring your electricity bill down. Insulation in your home is one of them. Through correct insulation, heat is not lost unnecessarily. Insulation isn’t just for winter though. If your home is insulated it will keep it cooler in summer too.

And he should know. His department utilised insulation to good effect in an affordable housing project in Cosmo City. The insulation was fitted into the foundations and has effectively resulted in homes that ‘self-regulate’ their temperatures. Through the insulation and the subsequent installation of solar water heaters, the cost of electricity at these homes has dropped significantly.

The geyser is another element homeowners should pay attention to pre-winter. “Have your geyser inspected or serviced before winter starts, as they are one of the biggest contributors to electricity bills,” notes Abel. “There are a few ways to save on your geyser bill during winter, which include switching it off during the day, wrapping it in a blanket or insulating it so that warmth is not lost.”

But wait, there’s more

Other elements you could consider to complement your winter-proofing (and ultimately cost savings) include energy efficient ‘low-e’ (low emission) glass windows, heat pumps and motion sensor activated LED lights.

“The months before winter are an ideal time to get your house in order so that winter doesn’t cause havoc on your property and bank balance,” he concludes.

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