30th November 2015
On a cold and drizzly winter’s day, there is nothing like returning to a warm and cosy home – but how can you be sure that you are heating your property efficiently?
With the Winter Solstice just a month away, running an efficient heating system is important not only for reducing heat loss but also for saving you money on your energy bills. So, here are our top 10 tips for staying warm this winter:
1. Un-crowd your radiators
Radiators can be rather unsightly, even with a lick of paint – that’s why so many of us hide them behind sofas and dining tables – but a crowded radiator is not conducive to a warm home. If you have objects such as sofas or dressers blocking the airflow around a radiator, these objects will absorb some of the heat emitted by the radiator meaning it won’t heat the room efficiently – and you might find yourself turning up the thermostat to combat this. To ensure your radiators are working to their fullest potential, we suggest you rearrange your room so as to allow maximum airflow around them.
2. Redirect the heat
Installing shelves above and foil behind radiators helps to redirect the heat. A shelf will help to redirect the heat to the lower levels of your room and foil will help to prevent heat from being absorbed into the walls.
3. Invest in some thick curtains
It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? That’s because it is. Households can lose up to 10 times more heat through their windows as they do through insulated walls. When drawn, a pair of thick curtains not only makes it harder for heat to escape, but also makes it more difficult for the cold air to get in.
4. Make sure your timer is set appropriately to your needs
Everyone is different – we all work different hours, spend different amounts of time at home and want our homes to be comfortable and warm as soon as we step in the door. To optimise your energy use and still stay warm this winter, try adjusting your heating timer to suit your circumstances. If you work from 9 until 5, programme your heating to come on at 4 o’clock to start heating your house just before you arrive home. Many bill payers will be shelling out on high gas or electric heating bills because they are unnecessarily heating their homes throughout the night. If you go to bed at the same time every night, try programming your heating to switch off an hour or two after you head to bed and to switch back on again an hour before you wake. During the night you’ll be so cosy under your duvet that you will hardly notice.
5. Counteract those mini draughts
Unless you live in a very new home, it is inevitable that you will lose some heat via draughts around doors and windows and gaps around floors and skirting boards. Even you cat could be adding to the draughts. But there are things you can easily do to combat this:
i. add weather stripping to doors to eliminate air leaks around door frames, or even adding abolt to secure a door in the frame can help (especially if the door is a bit warped).
ii. ensure your letter box is fitted with a draught excluder e.g. brush excluder to stop the cold fromblowing in.
iii. invest in a magnetic cat flap with draught proofing to keep the cold air out and the warm air in.iv. you could even put a curtain up over the door – this will help protect against draughtsfrom air leaks, letter boxes and cat flaps (your cat will soon learn to manoeuvre around it).
6. Get insulated
It is estimated that homes with un-insulated lofts will lose 25% of their heat through the loft space alone. Loft insulation can be a DIY job (materials are readily available at DIY stores) and if your loft is not insulated to the recommended minimum this is worth doing.
There are some issues that you need to consider when laying loft insulation (your health and safety, dealing with electricity cables and down-lights etc.) but there is good advice readily available from the Energy Saving Trust, manufacturers and DIY stores, so this doesn’t have to be an expensive job.
7. Consider a chimney balloon
If you have a fireplace but never use it, you might want to consider installing a chimney balloon. A chimney balloon is designed to block your chimney, keep the warm air in and stop draughts. They are easy and fast to install and, what’s more, they also give Santa a softer landing!
8. Have your boiler serviced annually
It happens to us all. It’s the run up to Christmas, the temperature has dropped and on one exceptionally chilly morning you shuffle out of bed to find that the radiators are cold and the flame has gone out – your boiler is kaput. It is recommended that you have your boiler serviced at least once a year to ensure it is working efficiently. If you are living in a rented property, it is the law – so if your boiler has not been checked in the past year, do contact your landlord.
We recommend that you book your service as soon as you can – this way, if something is wrong, you have time to get it fixed before the weather turns.
9. Bleed your radiators
If the heating is on and you notice cold spots when you touch a radiator, the chances are the radiator needs bleeding. Bleeding your radiators will remove any trapped pockets of air that are stopping the heat from evenly spreading and will also help maintain the life of the pump. Bleeding a radiator is a simple do-it-yourself job. U Switch offers a great guide: http://www.uswitch.com/energy-saving/guides/how-to-bleed-a-radiator/
10. Wear more (warm) clothes
Now, this is a bit of a given but not a completely daft point to make. Wearing your warm Christmas jumper is a good start but, in my experience, it’s all about the socks! If you’re anything like me, when your feet are cold all of you is cold. Feet have a big impact on your overall body temperature and keeping them bare on a winter’s day can make you feel a lot colder, no matter how many jumpers you wear. Many find that the simple act of wearing socks (or indeed a pair of big, novelty Christmas slippers) can make you feel warmer almost instantly, so you’re less likely to turn up the thermostat and are more likely to make a saving on your heating bill.
So, next time you feel a bit chilly at home, don’t reach for the thermostat; consider what else you could do to turn up the heat!
Stay warm and energy efficient this winter with our top 10 winter warming tips. Give them a go!