As the dark nights quickly roll in, It’s that time of year again to prepare your home for winter. Not only will you want to be cozy and warm, but you’ll also want to ensure your living space is energy-efficient. Heating your home in the winter months does not have to cost an arm and a leg. We’ve got plenty of cost-effective solutions for you to try.
Every home is unique, but whether your home is old or a new build, here’s a staggering fact: on average, 59% of the heat in UK homes escapes through the walls and roofs. That’s no small amount! So, let’s dive into the essential steps for finding the best ways to retain the warmth in your property, whether it’s draught-proofing, cavity wall insulation, or double glazing.
In this guide, we’ll pinpoint the key areas to focus on, provide budget-friendly ways to cut your heating bills, and assess the yearly savings you could achieve by following our tips.
Budget-friendly ways to keep your home warm
Draught-proof your home
On average, draught-proofing can save you £10 to £50 annually on heating bills. Plus, draught-free homes feel much more comfortable at lower temperatures, which can save an additional 10% on heating costs, to prepare your home for Winter.
Start by sealing areas where pipes exit your home, gaps around electrical fixtures, the loft hatch, and ceiling-to-wall joints. Consider installing draught excluders for doors. Enhance window insulation with thermal curtains or resealing, while making sure not to block necessary vents.
Change your curtains or blinds
Another efficient way to keep your home warm is by swapping your curtains or blinds for thicker, thermal options. Be sure to close them as the day turns into night to retain heat. With various choices available, upgrading your curtains or blinds is an easy way to ensure your house stays warm.
Rearrange your furniture to prepare your home for Winter
Having furniture pressed against radiators hampers warm air circulation, making heating your home ineffective. Shifting your furniture and other objects away from radiators allows hot air to flow freely, giving you more bang for your buck and making the heat more noticeable.
Insulate your pipework
Another notorious trouble spot is your heating system, where heat tends to escape from pipes and tanks before it even begins warming your home. To prepare your home for Winter, insulate your pipes with affordable pipe lagging, which can be easily found at DIY stores. Cut it to the right length, wrap it around the pipes, and secure the joints with tape. Just ensure the depth of the lagging suits the pipe’s size. If you have a warm water tank, cover it with a heatproof jacket. For an added boost, increase your radiator’s efficiency by installing reflectors behind them.
Invest in a Smart thermostat
Smart thermostats are a cost-effective way to maintain warmth in your home. They let you set room temperatures as needed, and they’re pretty handy since they can connect to various electronic devices through apps. This feature allows you to control your heating more precisely, saving money. Setting heating timers becomes a breeze with smart thermostats, preventing you from running your heating all the time, which is a more cost-effective approach.
Fit carpets with underlay
For a budget-friendly option that significantly improves floor insulation, consider fitting carpets with underlay. If you’re moving into a new house or planning a larger renovation, you can opt for thermal insulation installed beneath the floors. On a smaller budget, plugging any draughty holes in the floor and adding rugs can also help improve the heating situation in your home.
Long-term insulation solutions
Sometimes, in order to save money, you have to invest up front in your home. These solutions may be pricier, but they can result in much greater savings on your heating bills. Invest and prepare your home for Winter, and you’ll feel the difference.
Upgrade your boiler
Boilers older than 10 years are generally less efficient than modern counterparts. Upgrading to a new condensing boiler can prevent fuel wastage and lead to substantial energy savings. While installing a new boiler can be expensive, numerous financing options are available, making it a cost-effective choice in the long run.
Consider wall insulation to best prepare your home for Winter
Wall insulation is another way to save money and maximise energy efficiency. The choice of insulation depends on whether you have cavity or solid walls. Cavity walls are more cost-effective to insulate and can save you up to £250 per year. On the other hand, solid wall insulation is pricier, with costs exceeding £4,000 for thermally efficient expanded polystyrene (EPS) boards or plasterboard. However, the savings are impressive, up to £460 per year.
Increase your roof and loft insulation
Inadequate roof and loft insulation can lead to a 40% heat loss. The specific fix depends on your roof type—sloping roof, flat roof, or dormer roof. If no loft insulation is in place, consider using rock wool or fiberglass insulation with a depth of 270mm. This can result in annual savings of around £350 for a detached house, with an installation cost of about £395. Remember to leave a gap below your water tank to prevent freezing in a cold loft.
For flat roofs, you can install mineral wool or polyurethane layers to retain heat in your home. If you have sloping roofs, polyurethane spray foams or cut-to-size wool or fiberglass insulation can do the trick. Whichever method you choose, avoid leaving gaps in your insulation for an effectively warm loft.
Install better floor insulation
Don’t forget the floor! In the average home, about 10% of heat loss occurs through the floor. Older homes with ‘suspended floors’ are especially vulnerable, as heat dissipates into empty spaces. The solution is to lift the floorboards and lay mineral wool insulation or blanket-style insulation, supported by netting. This can save up to £120 per year for a detached home after an initial investment of £300 to £700. In more modern homes with concrete floors, rigid floor insulation can be installed for around £900, resulting in savings of £35 to £95 annually.
Replace your windows with double glazing
Double glazing, with its inert gas-filled or vacuum-sealed glass panes, is a potent ally against heat transfer. While it can be a substantial initial expense, it pays off in the long run by reducing heating costs.
It’s essential to note that options may be limited for older and listed buildings, so it’s wise to consult a local council planning officer before taking action. If double glazing isn’t feasible for you right now, consider secondary glazing as a lower-cost, temporary alternative. It involves installing a glass or plastic pane parallel to the window, providing a modest but helpful reduction in heat loss.
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