With the chill of winter in the air, it's time to get those warm coats out of the loft, consign your skirts and shorts to the back of the wardrobe, and crank that thermostat up a couple of notches.

Whether you live in a palatial mansion, a suburban semi-detached, a cosy cottage or even a fancy flat, home is quite literally where the "hearth" is, and it is a place where we want to feel both warm and protected from the icy winds and frosty temperatures that plague us here in the UK.

There's nothing worse than a home that is still in summer mode, right in the middle of a cold snap, so here are 5 great tips to help get your property ready for winter:

No 1. Bleed your radiators

Chilly rooms and ice-box style interiors may simply be down to poor performing radiators. This can be caused by air getting into the system during the summer months, meaning only parts of your radiator actually warm up, leading to inefficient heating.

It's simple to test: Turn your heating on. Wait for an hour, then feel around your radiators. If there are cold spots (normally at the top), it could well mean your radiator needs bleeding.

Bleeding your radiator is easy to do:

  • Make sure your heating is switched off, so that you can handle each radiator comfortably
  • Get a radiator bleed valve (which you can buy from any home supplies shop) and insert into the square-shaped hole at the side of your radiator
  • Hold some kitchen roll or a cloth just beneath the valve
  • Turn the valve anti-clockwise - if there is air in the radiator you should hear a hissing noise as it escapes
  • Once all the air has escaped, water will start to trickle out, at which point turn the valve back quickly in a clockwise direction

Bleeding your radiators will not only produce more consistent heat, but will save on your energy bills as you'll find you don't need to set your thermostat so high.

Terma Oxford russet freestanding cast iron radiator

Time to check your radiators

No 2. Draught-proof doors and windows

Much of your heat can be lost through cracks in doors and windows, so it's important to test for these things. The vulnerable areas to check are windows, doors (including keyholes and letter boxes), loft hatches and pipe outlets.

For draughty windows, you can easily buy adhesive foam strips or more durable metal strips, that can be added to prevent warm air escaping.

Add a curtain across external doors to keep warmth from escaping. A simple rail and material can be purchased cheaply.

Just be careful in areas where air is intentionally meant to escape, such as chimney flues, kitchens and bathrooms.

No 3. Get your winter duvet out of the loft

Feeling a bit cold during the night? Often, that is a good sign as you'll find you probably sleep better during the winter months thanks to the longer, darker hours and cooler temperatures. However, if you are feeling like your toes are about to drop off, it might be worth reappraising your bedding.

Check the tog rating of your duvet. The lower the tog, the colder you'll feel. If it is anywhere between 4.5 and 7.5 then it is classified as a summer duvet and is designed to be lighter. It's worth investing in one that's at least 10.5 tog or higher. Of course, extra blankets over the end of the bed and a mattress topper are all ways of adding warmth, along with the traditional hot water bottle!

MFI Oak double storage bed

Toes feeling a little chilly? Make sure your duvet has a high enough tog rating & add an extra blanket

No 4. Add a heated towel rail

When it comes to the bathroom, are heated towel rails the ultimate winter accessory? If heading off for your early morning shower fills you with chills, it could be a wise move to invest in one.

Not only will it add extra warmth to your room, but more importantly, it will give you toasty towels, so you're not left shivering in the cold as you dry. Many heated towel rails can work independently to your central heating using a heated element, so they can be operated all year round.

No 5. Check your light bulbs

If, like me, you are a little lazy when it comes to doing those odd-jobs around the home, now is the time to set aside an hour or two to tackle them.

One thing that often goes unchecked is the lighting in your home. As the clocks go back, you rely on it more than ever, so it is worth having a check of each bulb. Note which aren't working and take the old bulb with you for reference when you purchase your new one.


Still feeling chilly?

At VictoriaPlum.com, you'll find a wider range of heating choices than ever, with towel heaters and radiators for all areas of your home. We've got the latest in designer, vertical radiators to create a stir, or gorgeous, hand-sculpted cast iron radiators for traditional or industrial style interiors.

Follow us on Twitter @VictoriaPlumUK and share your winter tips using hashtag #TipTuesday. The best tips may even win a prize!