With energy prices now capped at £2500 for typical usage from October, we’re looking at smart ways you can reduce your energy bills by locking in the heat this winter with improved insulation.
Now more than ever, many of us are looking for ways to cut the cost of our energy bills ahead of the chilly winter months. And a well-insulated home means you won’t have to rely on ramping up the boiler and forking out the cost.
Richard Fox, from our Content team here at NetVoucherCodes, has spent the last 20 years of his career in the building & construction industry as a Chartered Building Surveyor. As an expert in the field, he’s lifted the lid on smart ways you can ensure your home stays insulated this winter.
He says, “There are many ways that you can improve the energy efficiency of your home and that doesn’t mean just adding more insulation to your loft.”
Richard’s sharing his Top 15 Tips for reducing your home’s heat loss to keep rising bills at bay.
Increase Loft Insulation
The loft should be the first place on your hit list when looking to improve insulation around your home. And with a quarter of a home’s heating lost through poorly insulated roofs, now more than ever is the time to ensure yours is in shape.
Luckily, your loft is easy to insulate, and in most cases, can be done yourself by simply adding additional insulation rolls.
Loft wool insulation can be purchased from most DIY stores and the government regularly has loft insulation grant schemes to help you upgrade insulation and cut house heat loss.
Richard suggests, “Anything up to 400mm depth of a loft roll wool is generally accepted as being a good amount of insulation!”
Loft Hatch Insulation
Now that your loft is well insulated, you should make sure the hatch is too! To stop any heat seeping through into the loft, you can purchase a pre-formed hatch consisting of a foam board & insulation.
But if you’re working on a budget, you can simply lay your own loft wool over the hatch door to ensure no heat seeps through.
Carefully store items in your Loft
If like most people, your loft space is a dumping ground for the Christmas decorations and old photo albums, you will need to make sure they don’t compress any of your insulative loft rolls.
Loft rolls will not be as efficient if they are compressed by your stored items. The way loft wool works is to trap air within its voids, so be careful about how and where you store items in the loft.
“Use timber boards to store your items and make sure they are raised above the insulation on fixed timber battens or plastic spacers.”
Under Eaves Insulation
If you have a converted loft, under eaves areas and beams can transfer cold straight from your roof. Ensure insulation is installed around these points to stop unnecessary leaks.
Some loft conversions have cold areas where cupboard doors are used to create spaces for extra storage. These doors are often not insulated and are a culprit for carrying in the cold.
Richard Recommends, that “insulating against the back of the door using foam boards can easily stop the cold seeping through”.
Use Insulated Tape
If you have rooms or hallways in your home that you don’t plan to use this winter, turning off the radiators can be a great way to save on heating.
However, to ensure cold air doesn’t leak out of the room and affect your heated areas, self-adhesive foam tape can be used to exclude draughts around any room.
For example, hallways and landings don’t necessarily need to be heated, so using self-adhesive foam tape will ensure draughts from these rooms don’t allow heat to escape too easily.
Also, be sure to check around your windows and doors both internally and externally for gaps and cracks. You can use either sealant or putty to close up these leaky areas.
Invest in Draught Excluders
Draught excluders are a fantastic and cost-efficient way to ensure no warm air escapes your home. Likewise, they’re great for stopping cold air from infiltrating.
Richard says, “You can place draught excluders at the bottom of doors, especially those to integral garages, external doors and to areas in the home that aren’t going to be heated.”
“And to cut costs further, you can even make your own using material sewn together as a sock and stuffed with sand, rice, old clothes or even newspapers.”
He also recommends draught excluding your chimney. If your chimney is not in use for heating, the heat from your home can easily escape through holes into the chimney stack.
You can either have your chimney professionally capped or install a cost-effective chimney sheep or chimney balloon.
Seal Openings Behind and Under Cupboards
You may not realise it, but your kitchen cupboards can be guilty of allowing precious heat to escape from your home.
If you can access the voids behind cupboards, you will often find gaps and holes that have been made through walls. squirty foam or spray foam insulation can be used for filling any draught opening.
And in most kitchens, you can easily remove the trims or plinths from below your cupboards and you will be surprised by how many holes and openings there are! These can allow cold draughts to get into the home from the underfloor void.
If you are on the ground floor, it can be even more effective to fill any holes or draughts to stop draughts and warm air from leaking out. Better still, you can get your crawlspace insulated by an underfloor insulation specialist.
Reflective Foil and Curtains Behind Radiators
Most radiators are placed below windows, which was historically done to warm up draughts from inefficient windows. However, nowadays, this is an obvious culprit for allowing heat to escape.
You can install a reflective silver foil wall covering behind radiators that will help by reflecting heat back into the room instead of it being absorbed into the walls.
If you’re looking for a quick, at-home solution, wrapping tin foil around cardboard is a great hack for creating your own foil wall covering.
You can also help to deter heat from escaping by covering windows behind radiators with curtains to help keep the heat in the room.
Even the most efficient glazing units will leak more heat than a wall, so fitting curtains, or better still, thermal insulative curtains, will help retain heat in your dwelling.
Install a Radiator Shelf
Most hardware and DIY shops stock purpose-made shelves that clip easily onto most radiators. These will help throw heat forward into the room, warming it up more efficiently. The best part is that these are pretty cheap to pick up.
Fill Holes In Exposed Floorboards
Exposed floorboards might look great, but they are more likely to have gaps and joints that allow draughts and heat to escape. If your home has exposed floorboards or wood floors, sealing up these joints can be an easy and satisfying DIY task!
You can use products such as Draughtex floorboard filler or PVA and sawdust or glue in cut wooden strips.
Alternatively, through the colder months, consider fitting carpets or use rugs on wood floors to better insulate these from cold spaces.
Secondary Film Over Windows
This may sound like an old-fashioned remedy, but if you don’t have particularly efficient glazing and glazing units, you can use secondary coverings such as perspex, to form a barrier to stop draughts and leaking heat to the outside.
An added bonus to this is that it will also improve the acoustic insulation making your home quieter from external noises!
Insulate Behind Doors of Unheated Rooms
While it may not be the most aesthetic option, fixing insulative products to the back of doors can massively help control heat leakage. If you have an unheated room in your home, try glueing a sheet of foam insulation to the non-visible side of the door.
Insulation boards and similar foils are available to insulate doors and can even be used to insulate your up-and-over garage doors.
“You may also want to consider insulating the door to your conservatory as these rooms tend to be much colder due to the amount of glazing”, says Richard.
Any room you have with a large amount of glazing, like garden rooms or lounges with bi-folding doors, will leak a greater amount of energy.
Stop Draughts from Keyholes and Letterboxes
It won’t just be mail and greeting cards coming through your letterbox this winter, draughts are also known to seep through causing an unnecessary chill!
Try fitting a keyhole and letterbox draught excluder or cover to stop these draughts from cooling your home.
Get Your Boiler Serviced
You might think your home is well insulated and your boiler is up to speed. But a routine boiler service is the best way to ensure your heating is running safely, smoothly and efficiently.
It is important to use a competent Gas Safe registered engineer to service your boiler each year. This can help detect any issues before they become serious problems!
Bleed Your Radiators
If you find you have cold spots on your radiators when the heating is on, it might be time to bleed your radiators.
By bleeding your radiators, you are releasing any trapped air stopping your radiator from functioning properly and filling up with hot water. To do this, you will need a radiator key and a cloth. When your radiators are warm, you should go around and check each for cold spots.
Richard’s Top Central Heating Hacks
- Only heat the rooms you need to by turning your radiators off at the thermostat. This requires a little bit of planning but it can save a fortune by only heating the rooms you are using and popping upstairs an hour before you go to bed to set the temperature.
- Control central heating with a Smart thermostat, set smart schedules to make sure your only heating the house when you need to. Or use geofencing apps to turn it off when you leave the house and back on when you return home.
- Turn down the hot water temperature on your Combi Boiler. Play around with temperatures until you find a happy medium. A good test for this is how hot your bath is without having to put cold water in to get it just right.
- Invest in Energy Efficient Radiators.
- Don’t place large furniture like a sofa in front of a radiator as it will block heat.
- If you only have the central heating on a short time, maximise the output of your radiator by using a radiator booster fan to direct the heat into the room.
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