Keeping your house warm can be a bit tricky, and often expensive. Turning the heating up or making energy-efficient home improvements can be really expensive, but often necessary in order to keep warm.
However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a choice of how to spend your money when it comes to saving on heating bills. There are plenty of different ways for you to improve your energy efficiency, enabling you to have the choice to make both short term and long term improvements based on your personal budget and preference.
Here are lots of great ideas to get you started:
Cavity Wall And Loft Insulation
Cavity wall and loft insulation can last for up to 42 years and can save even the smallest houses at least £100 pounds a year in fuel bills (source).
Insulating your entire house professionally is an improvement many would assume is likely to be very expensive. However, this simply isn’t the case. The Green Deal from the government is no longer available, so you can’t borrow money to make energy-saving improvements to your home.
There are however lots of offers still available to take advantage of, including certain energy companies offering free insulation, and certain schemes offering eligible applicants money off insulation or free insulation depending on their circumstances. Take a look here for the latest offers available.
Alternatively, if you want to DIY your loft yourself, it isn’t such a bad idea as long as you follow safety guidelines. Foam insulation rolls are cheap and you can also use fibreglass, recycled paper and other comparable products to do the same job. Be sure to wear all the protective safety gear (goggles, gloves, facemask etc), and leave edge gaps to avoid condensation.
Properties built before 1930 tend to have completely solid walls, which means they are not suitable for cavity wall insulation because they don’t have any cavities. Solid walls like these require solid wall insulation instead, where an extra layer of insulation is added to either the inside or the outside of the wall. This is done to slow down the heat moving from inside to outside the property.
Draught Excluders For Doors
Draught excluders for the gaps under doors were once thought to be old fashioned and a bit naff, however, since the world has begun to embrace eco-friendly solutions, and everyone sought to save money during the recession – they have regained some popularity and can now be found in many popular high street shops in lovely prints and shapes.
If you don’t want to buy a door frame draught excluder, consider making your own. Temporarily, anything can be used to wedge in the gap – a hoodie, blanket, even squashy cushions. However, for a more attractive look, create a sausage shape out of material (stretchy if possible), secure it all but one end, then place the leg of a pair of tights inside and fill with the desired material (lentils, rice – anything that is weighted but won’t degrade), tie the end off when full and then sow the other end up.
Use material that you love so you enjoy what the excluder does and how it looks.
A lot of heat can be lost through the windows, so it makes sense to keep that heat in using curtains. Thin summer curtains won’t do during the colder months, so you’ll need to invest in lined curtains. You could pay for a new pair, or pay someone to line your current pair for you, or even line them yourself with a cheap material like aesthetic fleece.
The interior design went through a trend of blocking open fireplaces in favour of modern, electric or gas heaters. However, times have changed and many original fireplaces are being refurbished because they look so beautiful. Many people choose to have open fires, however many simply decorate the fireplace and don’t use it.
If the latter is you, a chimney balloon could be a great way for you to avoid losing heat. They are made from a special laminate and cost little more than £20-£30 usually. Plus, they can’t be seen so they don’t have any negative effect on the aesthetics of the room. They are simply placed inside the chimney, just enough so they can’t be seen, then they are inflated until they are big enough to keep the cold out and the warmth in.
You can also use the balloons if you use your chimney, but be sure to remove them before starting a fire, and don’t reinsert them until long enough after the fire has been used for the chimney to cool down.
The heat from radiators can be lost, particularly when they are attached to external walls. To avoid this happening, you could place some heat reflective aluminium foil behind the radiator.
This stops the heat going into the wall and instead reflects it back where you need it – into the room. It can be bought for under £10 and is certainly worth a try. Quick Tip – some money-saving websites say you can use normal kitchen foil – you can but it isn’t as effective.
General Draught Proofing
Mini-draughts can let a lot of cold in and warm air out, so are worth combating. The letterbox can let in a lot of air, especially when it is windy, so be sure to add a letterbox brush for extra draught-proofing.
Also, keyholes can be surprisingly draughty, so an easy moveable keyhole cover can be a great idea. Cat flaps can also be very draughty, so fill them with a blanket if they aren’t used at the moment, or if the cat doesn’t go out as much during winter.
Jacketing Your Storage Tank
The hot water tank in your house could be losing up to 75% of its heat because it isn’t jacketed (source). Fitting it with a low-cost hot water cylinder jacket will insulate it keeping the heat in and helping keep the water hotter for longer.
Upgrading Your Old Boiler
Although it might seem like an absolutely huge outlay, the cost of upgrading an old boiler pales in comparison to the additional money you have been paying to use your old one, especially as your boiler accounts for over half of the money you spend on energy bills every year (source).
New boilers tend to have rated efficiencies of nearly 100% more than old ones. So they use a lot less energy and save you money in running costs, as well as saving the planet massive amounts of CO2. For more guidance on choosing a new boiler and potentially getting help buying one, click here.
Thermostatic Radiator Valves
Thermostatic radiator valves help you set different temperature controls on different radiators, so the heat can be more or less dependent on the room. This is ideal if you tend to turn the heating up to full for one room but don’t need it to be that high in the rest of the house. It enables you to have control over the temperature throughout your house.
If you’ve got a decent budget to play with and want to add real eco-friendly power to your home (and add to your home’s value), you might want to consider renewable energy. This type of energy comes from the sun, wind, ground and water and works with technology to harvest the energy for you to use.
There are lots of different options to choose from including; biomass boilers, solar panels, wind turbines, ground source heat pumps and hydro energy. For more information, click here.
It can seem tempting to just leave the curtains closed during the day and keep any heat in, but this is counterproductive and not only means you maximise your chance of getting condensation problems but also means you are missing out on all the free heat and warmth from the sunshine. Keep curtains open during the day and close them just as the light starts to drop.
Keep Radiators Clear
Putting furniture in front of radiators, clothes on top of them, or curtains in front of them, all mean you have something else absorbing the heat you should be benefiting from. If you block the radiator to heat it is likely you have the heating on higher in order to compensate.
Place A Shelf Above The Radiator
This is a good way to channel the heat and stop the hot air from moving directly upwards. Just be sure to avoid putting anything heat-perishable on the shelf.
Many of us prefer to keep doors open for a more spacious feeling at home, but that doesn’t help when we are trying to keep the heat in. Keep doors closed across the home to keep heat trapped in smaller areas.
Cover Bare Floors
If a floor is not properly insulated, it can account for a lot of heat loss. If you don’t have carpets you should look at using rugs as a temporary insulation solution. Underfloor heating might be a good consideration if cold floors are a continual issue.
Use The Timers On Your Boiler
You don’t need to have the heating on all day and where possible, should work to have the house warmed up gradually rather than very quickly. This creates more control over the temperature and enables the house to be heated more efficiently.
Secondary glazing offers a wide range of benefits to homeowners looking to reduce heat loss in their homes and save on energy bills. They improve your home’s energy rating, reduce your heating bills, provide excellent draught control, are thermally efficient and have lots of other benefits including noise reduction, improved home security and condensation control.
They are also suitable for homes where the homeowner does not want to or is unable to remove the current windows and needs a window insulation solution.