Top 10 tips to keep homes warmer for less this winter
ON FREEZING winter days like these and rising energy costs, homeowners should look now at some things they can do to protect their homes and wallets from the effects of falling temperatures. NHBC, a UK warranty provider and standards setting body for new build homes, offers the following advice to keep your home cosy and draught free for the winter:
Look after your boiler – central heating boilers should be checked and serviced at least once a year by a Gas Safe Registered engineer to ensure they remain safe and efficient. Boilers fitted in the UK now have to be energy-efficient condensing boilers, as they waste the least amount of energy. So if you live in an older property with a boiler older than 10 years you may want to start thinking about having it replaced.
Reduce draughts – make sure that your house is free of draughts. Check the weather-stripping on your windows and seal your doors to keep heat from escaping. At night, close your curtains to help insulate your windows against heat loss.
Open your curtains during daylight hours – to let the sun’s natural warmth in.
Bleed radiators – If you notice that a radiator is warm at the bottom but cool at the top, this could mean that there is air in the system, which prevents the warm circulating water from reaching the top of the radiator. If you suspect air in the system then the radiator may require bleeding to ensure maximum efficiency of the heating system.
Top up your loft insulation – Heat rises, and in an uninsulated home a quarter of the heat is lost through the roof. Insulating your loft is a simple and effective way to reduce that waste and lower your heating bills. Many homes already have some loft insulation, but the amount of heat lost and the energy savings gained will directly relate to the current thickness and condition of the insulation. The latest government guidelines recommend 270mm (11”) which means if you live in a property that’s older than 10 years of age, it’s probably ready for a top up.
Turn down the thermostat – According to the Energy Saving Trust, turning down your room thermostat by one degree could save you around £65 a year.
Floor insulation - Insulating under the floorboards on your ground floor could save you money. Although older properties are more likely to have suspended timber floors these can be insulated by ideally a fibrous insulation such as mineral wool or sheep’s wool as it performs better between timber as it will take up thermal movement and cut down air movement around the insulation. Newer homes will have a ground floor made of solid concrete. This can be insulated if it needs to be replaced, or can have rigid insulation laid on top.
Radiators are not washing lines - hanging clothes on radiators means that you’re stopping the heat getting to the rest of the room.
Do not heat empty rooms - Only switch radiators on in rooms that you use, make sure you shut the doors though to keep the rest of the house warm.
Compare suppliers - There are so many energy prices and offers available that it can be hard to work out what the best deals are, which is why so many of us don’t bother. However, comparing the various offers from energy companies can often help you identify a cheaper tariff.