5 tips to prepare your home for winter We love cosy homes and could hug everything hygge. There's a reason why we're borrowing words like hygge (cosy and comfortable) from the Danes, koselig (cosy and intimate) from the Norwegians, and gezellig (cosy, quaint, and in good company) from the Dutch - who can say no to those warm, fuzzy feelings of comfort and togetherness? While cosy homes start indoors, it's just as important to secure the cosiness to your home from the outdoors too, in case unwanted leaks or draughts come in to find you! Try out our tips for keeping everything dry and warm this winter. 1) Clear guttering, drains and chimneys You gutter do what you gutter do: clearing out leaves and debris from gutters and outdoor drains help keep your home safe and dry. A blockage can cause water from rain, ice or melting snow to spill over onto your home instead of flowing away from it. If you use a wood or open fire, try to get the chimney swept every year as it will help clear built-up soot and remove any obstructions (this could be animal nests and even animals themselves!) that may have formed over the year. Blocked chimneys stop air passing through and can keep smoke, pollutants and other harmful gases in the home. Trapped heat in a chimney can spark a flue fire too. A swept chimney lets you roast those chestnuts on an open fire with your mind at ease. 2) Roof and exterior walls Do a spot check of your roof and walls by scanning from ground level. Look for any problem signs like loose or missing tiles. Cracked, loose or missing pointing on exterior walls might mean unwanted water is dripping or running over it, and is a clue to look for leaks. 3) Insulate Pipes Don't lag behind, get lagging. Insulating your water pipes and tanks, called lagging, prevents heat escaping and keeps your water hot for when it reaches you at the tap. It also reduces the risk of ice forming on pipes and bursting them open in freezing weather. We've got more on how to spot and fix frozen pipes here. 4) Window seal of approval To make the most the insulation offered by windows, check for faulty or damaged seals. A good indicator of a damaged window seal is if fog or condensation has appeared between the panes of glass. Another sign is if the view outside looks distorted, this could be from gas between glass panes escaping and causing the glass to bend inward. The seal between the window and wall can get damaged too - the good news is that this can be fixed quite cheaply by 'caulking' or 'running a bead' around the edge, with loads of guides for how to do it yourself online! 5) Banish damp and mould Cold and wet weather means many of us have to dry clothes indoors and shut windows to keep in the heat. However, closed windows and washed clothes create a warm, damp atmosphere in the home that mould and mildew thrive in. Mould can be potentially very dangerous so keep it at bay by opening windows for fresh air. If you dislike bringing in the cold air, open the windows of rooms you're not using, for example, the bedroom windows during the day and living room windows at night. Be quick on the draw to use exhaust fans in bathrooms and extraction fans in kitchens to draw out steam from cooking or hot showers from the air. A dehumidifier is also handy to suck in extra moisture. It's much easier to prevent mould than it is to remove it, you might be able to tackle a small patch by yourself with mould-killer but larger patches might need professional attention. On the hygge hype? Check out some more tips to keep your home warm and cosy this winter, like how to save on your heating bills, or how to get smart with a smart meter.