As the weather starts to take a colder turn, it’s time to start thinking about ways to keep your home warm and cosy. But with energy companies constantly driving up the costs of gas and electricity, it’s always a good idea to look for ways to retain heat in the home. Fortunately, there are some low-tech solutions that you can try yourself.
1. Tin foil behind radiators
A great deal of heat in the average home is lost through the walls, and this problem is particularly common behind radiators. However, by attaching tin foil to the wall immediately behind your radiators, the heat will be bounced right back into the room. There is a dedicated type of tin foil for this purpose, and it usually costs somewhere in the region of £10 per radiator.
2. Thick or lined curtains
Another source of immense heat loss in the average home is a window. To keep more of the heat inside your home, consider switching to wool-based, double-lined curtains. While these are usually very expensive, they could be considered cost-effective when compared to how much they could shave off your annual energy bills. And don’t forget about doors. Shower curtains are ideal for covering the windows on uPVC doors.
3. Allow light in during the day
The heat generated from the sun is completely free, so it’s important to harness it whenever you can. Even during the winter, natural light that is amplified by glass can warm up a room nicely. It’s therefore a good idea to fully open all of your curtains, blinds and nets during the daylight hours. As soon as dusk arrives, close them to ensure the heat you’ve harnessed stays inside your home.
4. Block up chimneys
Unless you regularly use the chimneys in your home, they’re simply escape hatches for warm air. While you can completely block a chimney, a cheaper and non-permanent approach involves fitting something called a chimney balloon. At around £20, this simple product is a highly cost-effective way to stop warm air escaping from your home. The balloon is fitted inside the chimney so that it’s just out of view. It is then inflated until it blocks the entire cavity — forming an airtight barrier between the cold air outside and the warm air in your property. Another option is a woollen chimney insulator, but this is a more expensive solution, and it usually takes more time to install and remove.
5. Make your own draught excluders
At some point during the 1990s, draught excluders became unpopular. However, they served a very important purpose. The sausage dog draught excluder was once a common sight in suburban Britain, and they need to make a comeback. If you’re struggling to heat a room, the last thing you want is cold air coming in under a door. But you don’t need to spend a penny to solve this problem, as a DIY draught excluder is very easy to make. Simply take an old stocking, and stuff it with socks. Then simply lay your homemade excluder along the bottom of the door.
6. Keep your radiators clear
Far too many people waste energy by placing large items of furniture directly in front of their radiators. So instead of the warm air being released into the room, it is absorbed by a sofa or a set of drawers. If possible, keep ALL of your radiators clear of obstructions during the winter months.
7. Keep floorboards covered
Those beautiful floorboards you uncovered during the summer might look fantastic, but they could be the source of up to 10 percent of the heat loss in your home. While you don’t have to fit a new carpet, you can mitigate a lot of the heat loss with the strategic positioning of rugs and mats. Also, look for large gaps in your floorboards, which should be filled with a dedicated filler that is designed to expand and contract with changing temperatures.
You can never stop all of the warm air in your home from escaping during the colder months of the year. However, by making a few low-tech changes, you should be able to stay warm and keep your heating bills down.