How to prepare your home for the ‘worst winter in decades’

Weather experts are warning this winter could be one of the coldest in 30 years and Britain could see a repeat of the deadly Beast from the East.

It wasn’t that long ago that the brutal cold snap killed almost 20 people as the UK was plunged into a -15C freeze with heavy snow and ice that grounded flights, shut schools and caused havoc for commuters.

Researchers from a London university have warned that a freezing vortex of Arctic air could sweep across the country in the next few months.

With time to prepare for the worst, Britons have been urged to take a few key precautions to protect their homes from a freeze and save money.

Summer isn’t even over yet, but winter will sneak up on us and people can take these steps to make sure they aren’t caught out when severe weather strikes, according to British Gas engineer Hannah Hughes.

Ms Hughes said: “After basking in the sun this summer, it looks like we’re going from one weather extreme to the next.

“Rather than wait until the weather turns cold before finding out something’s not working as it should be, we’re advising customers to prepare in advance.

Now is the time to test your boiler and make a few small changes around the home to ensure your heating and hot water systems are ready to withstand the weather that’s coming.”

The Government suggests Britons get their heating system checked regularly by a qualified professional.

Property owners and tenants should also do a thorough check of places where heat can escape or cold air can creep in.

This means blocking the cold with draught excluders and sealing joints around windows and doors.

Bleed radiators

Bleed your radiators to get rid of any pockets of air that are trapped inside.

Hot water doesn’t circulate effectively if there is air inside a radiator.

Less heat is emitted and it will take longer to warm up your home, meaning your bills will be more expensive.

Move your sofa

Move your sofa if it is blocking a radiator and preventing heat from circulating through the room.

Use thick carpets and rugs to stop heat from being lost.

Protect your pipes

Water pipes can freeze if the weather is cold enough, especially during prolonged cold snaps.

Frozen pipes can break and cause a major leak as they thaw.

Wrap pipes with insulation.

Get help with heating costs

You may be able to claim financial and practical help with heating your home.

Grants available include the Winter Fuel Payment and the Cold Weather Payment.

Claim all the benefits you are entitled to before winter sets in.

One of coldest winters in decades

Ice temperatures and heavy snow could last for weeks if another Beast from the East hits this winter, climate experts University College London have warned.

They said this winter could be one of the coldest in 30 years after analysing current sea temperatures and the jet stream over the North Atlantic.

The team, led by Professor Mark Saunders, told the Sunday Times: “This would rank the 2020 January-February central England temperature as the coldest winter since 2013.

“It would also rank January-February 2020 as the seventh coldest winter in the past 30 years.

“There is a 57 per cent chance the central England temperature will be colder than in 2018, thus making it the coldest January-February since 2013.”