The Big Switch On – Hints and Tips to Make Your Homes Winter Ready

In recent radio interviews Matt Nourse, Toolstation’s Commercial Director has been talking about the "Big Switch On" with DIY SOS Electrician Billy Byrne and On The Tools presenter and multi trader, Andy Stevens. They’ve come up with some tips and advice for how you can prepare your home in the coming weeks before temperatures drop and the nights get darker as winter sets in. If you want to find more out about our Big Switch On campaign and the research behind it, click here

Billy ‘The Electrician’ Byrne from DIY SOS and Andy Stevens, On The Tools presenter and expert multi trader, reveal their top tips to prepare the home for ‘The Big Switch On’ and avoid the challenges of Winter such as broken central heating and lighting:

Top Tips from Billy

  • Prevention is cheaper than a cure. Don’t wait for a problem to arise before you call in your local trades. Don’t be caught out!

  • “Don’t be left in the dark, call in a spark" and prepare your home now! Your local electrician or plumber will already be lining up their jobs, so make sure you’re at the front of the queue and not at the back waiting for something to be fixed
  • There are common problems that can easily be detected through using your senses – alert your brain through sight, smell and touch (be careful when using this sense). If something electrical smells of burning or wires or don’t look as they should, then it’s a job for the experts.
  • The earlier you do winter checks around the home the better for a stress-free winter. There are common things we should be doing:
    • Check your outside sockets and ensure they remain waterproof
    • Check your alarms and detectors to make sure that they’re working correctly
    • Find out where your stop cock is. A potential plumbing problem that will eventually turn into an electrical problem if left, causing a whole list of issues around the home
  • Bring the experts in earlier to set your mind at rest and enjoy a stress-free winter. To find the best experts in your area, research your local social media channels, ask friends and family or visit a specialist such as Checkatrade.

Top Tips from Andy

  • When it comes to ensuring our homes are winter ready, my advice is clear – Don’t leave it until the last minute and start to prepare your home now by calling in the experts!"
  • Be aware – this time of year is one of the busiest periods for trades. Electricians and plumbers are already have a rise in callouts, so think ahead to book in your local trade expert now to test the winter household essentials rather than face a longer waiting time for heating and electrical problems that can be potentially avoided
  • Take the time today to get your home ready for the ‘big switch on’ – There are certain checks you can do yourself
    • Switching on your thermostats to ensure they’re working
    • Ensure your radiators aren’t leaking
    • Don’t attempt anything electrical or heating related yourself, always use the professionals!

Some things that can be done now to stop potential issues later on

  • Boiler maintenance, with the recommendation to service every year and checked every two years
  • Replace old radiators and valves for more efficient versions
  • Hot water cylinder service
  • Clear waste drains and guttering of any blockages
  • Protect against the big freeze by treating and Hot water cylinder service
  • Clear waste drains and insulating external and internal pipes and other areas of your home
  • Maintenance of electrical appliances and their cable, such as heaters
  • Replace damaged as plug sockets to avoid potential circuit shortages
  • Lighting maintenance and updates – more efficient, cheaper bulbs, or change to smart home technology so you can control lighting, central heating and security
  • Check security, lighting and devices for damage