When it is still warm outside, the winter is something some of us would prefer not think about. However, these months pass quickly and it will soon be time to turn the heating up and put warmer clothes on. We see our energy bills climbing and notice that the little jobs we intended to do, but never got around to, in order to keep our home warm, are now coming back to haunt us. So what can we do that will make a difference and don’t involve knocking half our walls down to install cavity insulation, or builders making a mess fitting news boilers and radiators?
- The biggest contributor to lost heat, are draughts. They are like having a fan pushing cold air into your rooms. Stop draughts and you are well on the road to retaining warmth in a room. Check all your windows, run your hand around all of the edges, and it stands to reason if anything is cracked, get it replaced. A sheet of glass is cheap compared to the heat you will lose in one year. If you don’t have double glazing, use a draught excluding product around any gaps, even cling film if you are desperate. A good set of lined curtains will pay dividends. Keep curtains closed in any room you don’t use on a regular daily basis and in all bedrooms.
- Check all doors, both internal and more importantly external ones. If a draught comes under, then fit a cheap excluder that you can get at any hardware store. Make some fun sausage roll dogs to place up against the kids’ bedrooms. Get into the habit of closing doors behind you as you move from room to room as each barrier will lessen the effect of any convection draught moving through the house.
- Check in the loft or basement for any way that wind can enter, like loose tiles or a broken grill. Get some padded loft insulation, it is not expensive and just roll it out across the loft beams. Even if there is some already there it may be old. Don’t try to remove it, just lay the new stuff over the top of it and remember that a quarter of a house’s heat can be lost through the roof.
- Carpets and rugs are effective in stamping out draughts as the air moving over stone of tiled floors will increase the chill factor.
- If you go out for the day, double check everything is closed and the curtains drawn.
- If you have a letter box in your front door, it is often a source of draughts, so find some way to cover it on the inside, possibly use a curtain that you can draw across. The same goes for any dog or cat flap, although that would be more difficult to cover.
Although some of these ideas seem like we are stepping back to the homes some of us knew as kids, and not exactly elegant in their approach, they work, and can save you a lot of discomfort and money. So unless you have a hermetically-sealed home or lots of cash to throw at energy bills, keep some of these ideas in mind.