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Top tips to keep your home warm this winter

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The winter months are just around the corner and during this time we all tend to spend more on our energy bills.

Here are some effective ways to help you save a few pounds on keeping your home warm this winter.

Tin foil behind radiators

Heatkeeper
Source: Energy Saving Trust

By carefully putting tin foil behind each of your radiators you can help to prevent unnecessary heat loss. Pay particular attention to those that are fitted to external walls. The reflective foil bounces heat back into the room rather than allowing it to escape through the wall.

If you prefer something specially designed for the purpose we recommend buying Heatkeeper radiator reflector panels, as recommended by the Energy Saving Trust.

The plastic panels are specially designed to create effective airflow behind the radiator which pushes heat back into the room rather than letting it escape through the wall.

Keep your radiators clear

Electric Radiator
Source: Electric Radiators Direct

Try not to position furniture directly in front of any radiators, otherwise you will restrict the heat distribution into the room. Instead position your sofa and other furniture in areas that will keep your radiators clear and functioning at their best.

It might seem obvious, but long curtains will stop the heat from a radiator entering the room. The best length for your curtains is so that they sit flush with your window sill. If you do have any curtains that, when closed, cover a radiator it’s definitely worth investing in a new set. Or you could simply tailor your existing curtains to a more suitable length.

Put a shelf above radiator

Radiator Shelf

Fitting a shelf above your radiators not only looks nice, but also helps to direct heat from the radiator into the room. This technique is particularly useful if you have any radiators that are positioned directly below a window.

Setting your heating control timers

Boiler Control Timer
Timers and thermostats allow you to control your central heating system more efficiently. Try to never manually adjust your thermostat. A better technique is to set your timer for you heating to come on a little earlier to warm up your home.

It’s a myth that leaving your heating on all the time is cheaper than timing it to come on only when you need it. Your boiler will use more energy to heat a radiator from cold but the cost is far less than keeping your boiler running 24 hours a day, even at if your central heating system is set to a low temperature.

Double glazing

Double Glazing

If your home is has double glazing you’ll benefit from reduced heat loss.

For a cheaper alternative you can pop down the high street and purchase a DIY double glazing kit from most good hardware shops.

The kit contains a plastic film sheet that is fixed into place across the window frame.

The downside is that you won’t be able to open your windows unless you break the seal. However, during the colder month you probably won’t need, or want, to open most of the windows in your home, and if you did the cost of a new pack is minimal.

For an extra layer of insulation you might like to consider this DIY bubble-wrap double glazing solution that we came across.

Thick curtains

Windows are one of the most vulnerable areas when it comes to heat loss. Thick curtains are an effective way to reduce heat loss through windows, and are more beneficial in homes that are not double glazed.

If you don’t want to buy a new set of curtains, then why not line them yourself? Thermal lining or fleece can be picked up on the high street for a few pounds and as long as you have a needle and thread the rest shouldn’t be too difficult. Don’t worry if the stitching isn’t the best, it’ll only be on the reverse side of each curtain so won’t show.

Fit a pelmet

A pelmet is simply a ‘shelf’ or ‘box’ above your window that cover the top section of your curtains. Hidden pelmet’s are also available on the market that remain out-of-sight behind your curtain. Fitting a pelmet can help reduce the amount of cold air that enters your house through the window area.

Guide to making a DIY pelmet

Let sunlight in during the day

Sunlight is basically free energy that you can easily harness by simply opening your blind or curtains to allow the sunlight to penetrate into the room. The UV rays from the sun pass through your glass window and become radiant heat once they enter the room. North and west facing windows will benefit the most.

Chimney balloon

Chimsoc Chimney Balloon
Source: Chimsoc

You may not realise it, but a lot of heat from your house can escape up your chimney.

It’s quite common these days for fireplaces in homes to be unused. Many of us have a central heating system that renders the old fashioned type open fireplace obsolete.

If your fireplace is no longer used it may be the case that heat within your heated home escapes through the chimney. An affordable solution is a chimney balloon.

A chimney balloon is exactly that. An inflatable device that is inserted into the chimney breast and inflated so that it seals off the space.

We found this useful video to watch if you’re wondering how to fit a chimney balloon.

Seal any mini drafts

letterbox draught excluder

There are a lot of areas in your house or flat where heat can escape. Letterboxes are one of the most common places. Easy remedy is to fit a letterbox draught excluder, which can be purchased in any good DIY shop for a few pounds.

Another area is keyholes. In the very cold months even a small hole like a keyhole can make it more difficult to keep your home warm and toasty.
If you don’t use the keyhole very much a quick solution is to put some tap over the hole. A better fix is to buy a keyhole cover.

Catflaps are another area where you can potentially lose a lot of heat. At windier times the flap can often blow open and shut repeatedly. You can’t really tape the flap shut but you can help reduce heat loss by lining the interior section.

It’s also a good idea to have a look to see if there are any cracks or gaps in window and door frames. It’s estimated that as much as 25% of your homes total heat loss can be through gaps. Any gaps that you do find can be sealed using weather stripping to eliminate heat escaping around doors and windows

Use draught excluders

Dozing Dog Draught Excluder
Source: Not On The High Street

Although heat rises is can still be lost through gaps under doors. In such circumstances a draught excluder could be an affordable option to help keep your rooms warm.

There are many types of draft excluder available on the market but our favourite solution this fabric ‘sausage dog’ draught excluder

Cover any bare floorboards

Floorboards

Exposed floorboards are the preferred choice in many homes nowadays. They are not a problem in the warmer months, but as soon as the winter approaches they are one of the main contributors to heat loss in your home. In fact the National Energy Foundation claim floors account for up to 10 percent of heat loss.

Rugs are a great way to eliminate, or at least substantially reduce, heat loss through exposed floorboards. The great thing about laying down a rug for the winter months is that you can simply take it away again once the weather warms up!

Insulate your house

Loft Insulation

Your loft space may already be insulated but is it really as good as it could be?

Loft insulation and cavity wall insulation could save you a substantial amount on your energy bills and isn’t particularly expensive, so the payback time on your bill saving is relatively quick.

There are a few different types of insulation available from batt or blanket insulation, loose-fill insulation, sheet insulation and blown-fibre. Which? has a great article on how to buy loft insulation.

Insulate your pipework

Pipe

Hot water pipes work more efficiently if they are insulated. Insulating a hot water pipe is cheap and easy and can will not only save you money on your heating bills but you won’t need to wait as long in the mornings for your water to heat up.

Top tips to keep your home warm this winter

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