Get your home ready for winter

South Africans love their summers and bemoan the onset of winter but there are actually few things as enticing as snuggling under a fluffy blanket and sipping hot chocolate in front of a crackling fire so now is the perfect time to winterise your home and get it ready for the chilly season.

Yael Geffen, CEO of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, offers the following tips:


  • Insulate your home

A well-insulated house can help to significantly reduce electricity consumption during the cold months and the main problem for many homes is draughty windows and doors. However, this is an easy and economical fix as weather strips are readily available and can be used to fill gaps between floor and doors, as well as spaces between windows.

If your budget stretches to it, a insulated roof is vital in keeping warmth in and drastically reduces cost of heating.

  • Check your roof and exterior walls

Checking your roof is essential to avoid water damage to your building. When checking your roof, ensure the tiles are properly in place, with no spaces in between for water to ingress and check inside the roof for any light creeping in.

Also look for signs of cracking or damp on your exterior walls. If nipped in the bud, you’ll be saving in the long run. It’s also one of the first things a potential buyer will be looking at.

  • Clear the gutters

A blocked gutter is useless in getting water off the roof and down the drain so clearing your gutters is vital, especially if you are living in a winter rainfall area.

Rainwater running down the side of your house can also cause damp and mould, so a good clean-out of the gutters will prevent water damage down the line.

  • Install electricity saving devices

In winter we do tend to stay in more often which drives up energy consumption so make sure all your lights are LED, low energy bulbs and investing in a solar lighting system and gas cooker will not only lower energy usage but will also be a lifesaver during loadshedding.

  • Wrap your geyser

The amount of energy saved by insulating your geyser with a geyser blanket has been calculated to be up to 50%. Either buy a ready-made, easy to fit blanket or use a piece of Isotherm cut to fit snugly around the geyser and secure with duct tape.

Winter comfort

“As we’ll be spending time indoors with family and friends, it makes sense to prep our homes to make them as warm and inviting as possible so that we can enjoy them as much during the colder months as we do in summer,” says Geffen.

  • Opt for warm lighting

The simplest way to create a cosy atmosphere is through low, warm lighting which can easily be achieved simply by changing light bulbs or you can invest in a lamp or two to place on side tables or to stand in a corner.

Candle light is also great for winter nights and if you have a fireplace, make this your primary light source on cold evenings. Keeping your lighting low creates a calm feeling and using warmer LED bulbs not only saves on electricity, but creates a snug space.

  • Layer on the blankets, throws and cushions

Nothing says cosy quite like soft fleecy throws or woolly blankets along with extra cushions for added comfort when snuggling in front of a movie on a cold winter’s day.

  • Incorporate autumnal colours

If you are buying new blankets or décor items, opt for rich, vibrant colours like burnt orange and forest green to add style to your comfort. If you don’t want them to adorn your couch, you can buy a pretty basket in which to leave them folded up when not in use.

  • Set the atmosphere with alluring fragrance

Scent has the power to instantly transform your home to an inviting space and scented candles, a fragrance diffuser or room spray using pine, oranges and spices, give an alluring scent to your home.

  • Invest in winter bedding

Cotton flannel, velvet flannel or heavyweight Egyptian cotton sheets are wonderfully warm alternatives to crisp lightweight cotton sheets and will make your bed a whole lot cosier and more comfortable. And if you really feel the cold, add an electric blanket for that extra toasty feeling.

  •  Hot water bottles

Old-fashioned but oh-so effective and cosy. Either the traditional ones you top up from the kettle of the ‘bean bags’ which you warm in the microwave.

  • Bulk up your towels

Stepping out of the shower on a cold day is never easy but it’s so much nicer when you can wrap yourself in a large fluffy towel to warm up and dry off. A new, plush set of towels will not only keep you warm, but also make the prospect of getting up while it’s still dark out a whole lot more palatable.

  • Create a warm outdoor space

As South Africans we love the outdoors and there’s no reason not to cosy up outside during the milder days. Mushroom heaters or outdoor fire pits offer warmth and make for a perfect gathering space for family and friends to enjoy the chillier evenings.

And, as South Africa is blessed with ample sun, even in winter, solqr lamps and fairy lights are the perfect way to light your cosy outdoor area and create a loadshedding-free zone where you can relax in the evenings.

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