With the winter weather slowly creeping in, you might want to start thinking how you can keep your home warmer for longer during the cold winter months.
Whether you’re after small steps to make your home that little bit toastier or are looking at completely refurbishing it to make it as energy efficient as possible, there are plenty of things you can do to prevent any unwanted drafts during the colder months.
Heating homes accounts for over 70% of household energy consumption. So, reducing this figure – while keeping homes warm enough – not only cuts energy bills, but helps meet the carbon reduction commitments that the UK government is legally required to deliver.
The most recent figures show that 2.38m households in the UK are in fuel poverty – which basically means that almost 11% of British homes cannot afford to keep warm. But while the scale of this problem is significant, not all the solutions need to be complex and costly. So here are 10 simple tips for keeping your home warm for little or no extra cost – just in time for that severe weather warning.
Maximise your Insulation
When it comes to heat, around 25% is lost through the roof. This can be easily reduced by installing 25cm of insulation throughout your loft. It’s also worth seeing what’s going on in your walls, as around a third of the heat in an uninsulated home is lost this way. Although it’s not as cheap to install as loft insulation, cavity wall insulation could save up to £160 a year in heating bills. It’s also worth checking with your energy supplier to see if they have any insulation schemes running – which can sometimes mean cheap or free installation.
Block Out the Draughts
Even a simple solution such as a making your own sausage dog draught excluder will help keep the warmth in your home. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that DIY draught-proofing your doors, windows and cracks in the floor could save £25 per year. You can do this yourself for very little cost. Self-adhesive rubber seals around doors and windows and door draught excluders are relatively cheap and easy to install. So, it’s worth getting those doors and windows sealed before winter properly kicks in.
Bleed your Radiators
Check your radiators are heating to the top. If they aren’t, the chances are you can follow an online guide of how to bleed a radiator or simply call out a plumber. It sounds a bit medieval, but all it means is releasing the trapped air at the top, which is stopping the hot water from rising. Simply use a radiator bleed key (about £1 in any DIY shop) to open the little valve at the top. You’ll hear air hiss and as soon as you see a drip of water, close it up again. Bingo. Energy-efficient radiators.
Upgrade your Boiler
If your boiler is more than 10 years old, it may be time to replace it with a new, more efficient model. Depending on your old boiler type and house, you could save up to £350 with a new A-rated condensing boiler – which uses less energy to produce the same amount of heat. Plus, if it’s new, you’re less likely to have any issues going into the winter season. If you are thinking about upgrading your boiler for the cold winter months, it is best to call a reliable plumber who can do this for you.
Block out the Draughts
Even a simple solution such as a making your own draught excluder will help keep the warmth in your home. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that DIY draught-proofing your doors, windows and cracks in the floor could save £25 per year. You can do this yourself for very little cost. Self-adhesive rubber seals around doors and windows and door draught excluders are relatively cheap and easy to install. So, it’s worth getting those doors and windows sealed before winter properly kicks in.
You can also use any spare foam pipe lagging as a door draught excluder – just cut a section to fit the bottom of your door, then slide it on to form a tight seal against the floor. You could also use spray foam insulation to fill any cracks and gaps in your walls or at the back of cupboards. Just be sure to check the can for all safety precautions. If you really want to take it up a level, call the professionals in to install loft insulation and keep all that lovely warmth from escaping through the roof.