Simon Kelso, the branch manager at Seymours in Guildford shares some tips – Simon says, in the UK, people often switch their central heating on around October and continue to use it on a daily basis until around March or April. There are several reasons for this including the change in time with the clocks going back, the drop in temperature and fuel payments during winter months.
Energy consumption in the UK is greatly impacted by the need to heat homes at over 70%. Reducing this figure is essential in reducing carbon emissions and also for people wishing to cut down their energy bills.
Back in 2019, it was estimated that 13.4% of households (3.18 million) were in fuel poverty meaning that those affected could not afford to keep warm. Statistics such as this highlight the significance of the issue.
However, that being said, there are a few tips that homeowners can implement to keep their homes slightly warmer at a low cost.
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By opening up your curtains and letting the sunlight in during the day, you can benefit from a little extra heat to warm up your home. However, you will need to ensure that when it gets dark, that your curtains are closed. This is as the curtains will act as another layer of insulation to keep warmth inside. You should check that you don’t have any leaks or gaps that let cold air through. By doing so you will also help reduce condensation.
Programming Your Boiler
It is recommended that you program your boiler to turn the heating on 30 mins before you get up in the morning. However, doing so at a lower temperature is more cost-effective than turning it on as you wake up at a higher temperature. The reason is that a boiler heats up at constant speed no matter where it’s set. The worst mistake you can make here is to leave your heating on all day as then you are just paying for heat long past when you need it.
Your roof can be responsible for losing up to around 25% of the heat in your home. A quick fix here is to install 25cm of insulation around your loft. Your walls play a big factor here too as they can often be responsible for losing around a third of the heat within a house. Loft insulation is not always cheap, however, cavity wall insulation can be quite effective saving you up to £160 a year in heating costs. Additionally, energy supplies sometimes provide insulation schemes which can sometimes be a benefit as you could receive cheap or even free installations.
Another way to keep your house warm in the winter months is to draught-proof your doors, windows and any cracks in the floor. Doing so may also be beneficial in the long run, saving you £25 per year. This can also be done so on your own accord by applying self-adhesive rubber seals around doors and windows.
Thermostatic Radiator Valves
Research has shown that installing thermostatic radiator valves can result in energy savings of 40% in comparison to homes that do not have these controls. The way this works is that they allow you to programme your heating to come on at times you set yourself so that you only use energy when necessary, Recent technological advancements now allow you to control these settings via your mobile phone. This is immensely useful as it means you can turn your heating on when returning from work so that your home is warm on arrival.
Turning DOWN the Dial?!
Yes, you did read correctly. The World Health organisation previously stated that a minimum temperature of 21% is best within your living room. However, this was then revised to 18% by Public Health England. Furthermore, research has proven that turning down your thermostat by as little as 1% could cut your heating bills by up to 10%. So by keeping the temperature at 18 degrees celsius could not only save you money whilst ensuring your house is warm during the winter months.
Don’t Block the Radiators
By having a sofa placed in front of radiators, you may potentially be stopping the spread of warm heat around your home as the sofa might be absorbing the heat that could be better used elsewhere. This is also true for curtains and clothes racks which often block radiators in many homes. By leaving your radiators unobstructed, you can make the most of the heat the radiators provide.
There is a high chance that if your boiler is more than 10 years old, it may be due an upgrade. Furthermore, depending on your boiler type and house, you may save as much as £350 if you were to install an A-rated condensing boiler. These are very efficient in that they use less energy but provide you with the same amount of heat. Additionally, upgrading your boiler before the winter months can be beneficial in that you are in less danger of running into issues as temperatures start to drop.
If your home has a hot water tank, ensure that it is properly lagged or insulated. This will keep the water warmer for longer periods of time and also lessen heating costs. By insulating your water tank, you may be able to save as much as £150 per year. However, you can also save money simply by upgrading your tank’s already existing jacket.
Radiator panels can also be beneficial in that they are relatively cheap and easy to install. They ensure that the heat from radiators warms up your home and not just its walls. The way radiator panels work so effectively is that they reflect heat back into the room.
Although it may seem obvious, one of the simplest ways to keep warm cheaply over winter with little energy use is to simply layer up. Thick extra soft furnishings can make all the difference when the months get colder.
Although it might seem like only a small change, using a sealant can fill the gaps between the top and bottom of your house skirting boards can make a considerable impact in heating up your home.
The carpet and underlay for flooring in your home can greatly impact your home’s insulation. Experts at Carpetright have estimated that choosing the right underlay for the flooring in your home can save you as much as 15% on your energy bills in addition to making your home warmer.
Again although it might seem small and overly simplistic, it’s the little things that add up to make a big difference. You can fit a purpose-made cover that will work by dropping a metal disc over the keyhole which in turn will prevent wind from entering the home.
Triple glazing and loft insulations can be very costly if cold air is still entering your home through your chimney. It has been calculated that households lose around 4% of their total heat through chimneys. That being said a high-quality draft preventing block could save you £200 a year. Furthermore, if you do not use your chimney at all, you can also consider having it capped by a professional.
For those who still use their chimney, you may also wish to consider using a draught excluder instead.
One way to keep the cold out effectively is to incorporate thermal lined curtains. This is especially true if you have single-glazed windows. However, ensuring your curtains are lined will help a little also.
Keeping your curtain closed and thermal curtain lining can both help a great deal for keeping your house warm over the winter months, reducing heat loss by as much as 25%.
Any gaps in bricks on your external walls may lead to cold winds coming into your home. A solution here may be to top up the mortar between bricks to stop this from happening. This process may be tricky though and you may want to consider contacting a professional to carry out this process.
For those looking for a quick solution yet do not have the time to spend sealing their floorboards, rugs can be your best friend. Layering up rugs can save you the effort of having to find one large design to cover the spaces and will also give you that nice homely feel.
If you already have a carpeted home then this will help increase your insulation. However, for those with hard flooring, investing in some high-quality materials such as that of a plush rug will also help prevent heat from being lost.
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