Keep your home warm this winter and save some cash in the process
With winter upon us, many of us will be reaching for the central heating to warm those toes. Heating and energy prices can rocket for home owners in the winter months, but there are small measures and actions you can take to drastically reduce the amount you pay during those cold winter snaps.
So as a little guide, I’ve put together some handy tips which I hope will help to keep you warm this winter and save you a few pennies along the way.
Chilly walls & windows
As I’m sure you’re aware, the heat of an external wall is substantially colder than that of an internal one. You only have to touch an external wall in your home to feel the difference between one which is facing the elements compared to the one dividing your room next door.
Windows also drop in temperature the minute the sun goes down. Double glazed windows can drop to 14 degrees and to as low as 7 on single glazed depending on their insulation values. To put that into visual terms, 7 degrees is the average serving temperature of a lager in your local watering hole, nippy!
To help with these cold walls and windows try the following:
- Hang your mirrors, posters or pictures on your coldest wall.
Mirrors alone can bring wall temperature up several degrees which in turn reduces the amount of heat lost through a wall. Of course, I’m not suggesting you lace you walls back to back with mirrors, but a little bit of thought when hanging items you’d naturally have in the home goes a long way.
- If you’re a tapestry lover then even better! Carpets are used to create warmth, so why not decorate your walls with these and warm your home in the process.
Leave your curtains open during the day to let the sunlight in and close them the minute darkness descends
Window temperature will drop dramatically once the evening arrives, which in turn will sap the heat from within a room. Curtains will trap the heat, so the thicker the better, and if you’re feeling like doubling up, a curtain and a blind will only improve the situation. A little bit of outlay to begin with will only improve the warmth of your room come the winter months.
- DIY Double glazing! Many homes are not always double glazed, I know many customers with sea facing houses which rattle away in the winter leading to drafts and loss of heat. If double glazing is not the route for you, there are DIY options out there available. DIY double glazing film is merely a clear film which is fixed to your window which you then stick to the surface using an ordinary domestic hair dryer. This leaves no creases, increases the insulation value, is very reasonable, and can easily be removed when required. A kit which covers around 6sqm and can be purchased off the likes of amazon for around £10 per roll. Naturally this is not as efficient as double glazing, but a vast improvement none the less.
- Last but not least, look at where your furniture is situated in your room. Often this is dictated by a room shape or perhaps the location of a window, but where possible try to avoid placing your sofa by a cold wall which will naturally feel colder than the rest of the room when you’re sat by it.
Drafts are the quickest way to waste energy and money in the process. They can be found in the places you’d least expect but can decrease the temperature of a room and sap your heating no end.
- Letter boxes and doors are big culprits.
Small brushes can be bought for letter boxes and the bottom of doors to prevent those drafts whistling through the house. Failing that, a good old fashioned door stop or a curtain will trap the heat into spaces which would otherwise be lost.
Lovely features but extremely chilly on those windy nights if the chimney is used as a feature rather than a heat source. There are things on the market called “chimney balloons”. They cost around £20, and are made from a form of laminate. It pretty much works how you’d expect, by being inserted into the chimney out of site and then inflated to fully fill the gap in question.
- Wooden floors
I am a huge fan of old wooden floors in rustic country homes, but unfortunately these again can add to those delightful drafts which whip up under your sofa and send you rushing for the blanket. Many people prefer exposed wooden floors, but in areas where people are sat, perhaps consider covering the problem area’s with a nice warm rug. Heat loss through floors can account for 10 per cent lost in the home according to the National Energy Foundation (NEF).
Radiators are often people’s main source of heat in the home, but little things can be done to ensure you’re receiving the best possible heat available from them.
- Keep them clear
This is obvious but many people don’t think of it. Think about where your furniture is situated, if your sofa is situated right in front of one, this will block the heat from entering the room and will heat the sofa rather than its surroundings.
- Often, when radiators have been installed on an external wall, the heat they generate can be lost directly through the wall they are sat on. A simple measure to minimise this loss is to fit a reflective foil. It can be purchased from most DIY stores, is easy to fit, and does not require removing the radiator to do so. Better still mount the radiator on an insulated board. This moves the radiator further from the wall with a reflective foil surface.
- Use shelves to channel heat in the right direction
Placing a small shelf above the radiator also helps since it means the heat tends to be forced more into the room rather than just rising up the wall - leave a gap of around 25mm to 50mm between the radiator and the shelf to allow the heat to get out and circulate around the room. This is especially beneficial in houses with high ceilings or where a radiator is situated below a window.
- Decorative covering of radiators
These can often look nice but can reduce the amount of heat you receive from your radiator. Research your radiator coverings well before buying, or perhaps use these covers in the summer months only
Winter is a time to batten down the hatches and get cosy. I hope my suggestions above will provide you with a few handy tips to do just that without breaking the bank. Watch this space next week for further ideas for you and your home.