Winter is definitely here, and while there’s not much you can do to stop it getting cold outside, you can still make sure you stay toasty inside. Here’s 10 simple tricks to keep your house warmer in winter and stop that energy escaping.
1. Heat your home, not your wallsHere’s how to keep your house warm with some easy foil insulation. Cover a thin sheet of card with tinfoil and place it behind your radiators (if you’re feeling particularly crafty you can make it T-shaped so it sits on your radiator brackets). It’ll reflect the heat back into your rooms, meaning they warm up faster and retain more heat. If DIY isn’t your thing, you can also buy ready made foil insulation.
2. Pop on some pipe-lagging Pipe lagging (insulating hot water pipes with foam tubes) keeps the water inside your pipes hotter for longer and protects against the cold. It also makes your heating and hot water much more efficient. You can buy pipe lagging from any DIY store and fit it in seconds, no tools required.
3. Draught-proof your homeIf your home has a draught, patch it up. Filling in the gaps around windows and doors can help you save on your heating bills, so spending a few pounds on window draught excluder – an insulating tape – is a great investment. Fitting it is a breeze too, just make sure it sits snugly.
4. Bleed your radiatorsCheck your radiators are heating to the top. If they aren’t, the chances are you need to learn how to bleed a radiator. 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.
5. Get your boiler servicedBoilers, like people, like to be looked after. Give yours an annual boiler service and it will last longer and work more efficiently – if you don’t, it could cost you money. Don’t forget, it’s vital that you use a Gas Safe Registered Engineer.
6. Close the curtainsYou won’t be surprised to learn that lots of warmth escapes from your home through the windows. If you’ve got curtains, close them before darkness hits or while you’re out of the house and keep that lovely heat where it should be – inside. Better still, get yourself a pair of thermal curtains.
7. Use the oven to heat the houseOnce dinner comes out of the oven, we all close the door again. But why waste that heat? Leave the oven door open and let the heat transfer slowly into your kitchen, it’ll help keep your house warm while you eat. And, naturally, keep the kids away from the door.
8. Roll out a rugWooden floors might look lovely but they can also let heat escape from right under your feet. Putting down a warm rug covers up the gaps and ensures your toes stay toasty.
9. Get creative with your insulationUse 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.
10. Know your ideal temperatureIt’s easy to turn the thermostat all the way up when it’s freezing cold but what temperature should your house be? Aim to set your main room thermostat somewhere between 18°C and 21°C.It’s also a good idea to set your thermostat to one temperature and then use a timer to turn it on and off when you need the heating most. That way you won’t waste excess energy from leaving the heating on too high, for too long.