With the big six energy companies all looking at putting up their prices for the winter and the prospect of yet more snow, it is crucially important that our homes are kept well insulated. There are a number of ways to achieve this and not all of them need to cost a fortune.
- Loft insulation
Before you take any other steps to keep your home warm, this must be your first. For a relatively low cost, you can easily add insulation to your loft. The recommended depth for the best effect is 270mm and it is possible to buy rolls of insulation at any DIY store. This is one job which any DIYer can do themselves.
- Wall cavity insulation
Once again this is an important step in the battle against cold. Most homes in the UK will qualify for wall cavity insulation as long as they were built during the 20th century. You will need to get in an expert company to do the work, but it can cost as little as £150 and the saving will be gained back within the following two years.
- Mind the gaps
Take a good look around your home and fill in any small gaps which should not be there. Of course, never close off ventilation holes or air bricks. However gaps around windows and doors can be easily remedied with door runners and sponge tape. Other holes should be filled in with expanding spray foam. It is amazing how much difference this can make.
- Double glazing
If you do not already have double glazing, now is the time consider investing. The simple act of changing your windows can make a huge difference to how your home retains heat and you will see your heating bills plummet.
Go around your home and check all of the radiators to ensure they are working correctly. Check for hot spots or cold spots and see how quickly they heat up. You may need to bleed the radiator to remove air locks which are preventing them from working efficiently. All this takes is the use of a radiator key which can be purchased at any DIY or plumbing store.
- Underfloor heating
If you are building new or want to replace your heating system, underfloor heating (particularly in conjunction with a renewable heat source such as an air source pump or solar thermal heating) can be by far the best alternative to radiators. This provides ambient heat which can be run at a lower temperature, saving money and keeping you warmer.
- Open fires
if you are lucky enough to have an open fire or a log burner in your home, it is wise to take advantage of it. This allows you to heat the room you are in and makes it possible to turn off the whole house heating. Surprisingly, fires like this can produce a great deal of heat at a relatively low cost.
Wooden floors can be especially hard to keep warm in the depths of winter. If possible use good rugs or wall to wall carpeting to keep you floors cosy. In some houses the concrete sub floor can produce cold air which comes up through the floor boards.
Try changing your blinds or thin curtains for floor length thick lined curtains – at least for the winter months. These can keep out any cold air which is coming in around the windows or through the glass panes themselves. It is recommended that curtains are closed most of the day in the winter.
Take the time to have your boiler and your heating system checked every year. This one small act could save you money on your heating and ensure that you are getting the most from your boiler. Also consider how you use your boiler timing switch. Having your heating come on at the best times can mean you are making the most of your heating while saving money at the same time.