Keeping Warm this Winter

As the temperatures continue to drop, the temptation will be there to crank up the thermostat to keep warm and cosy at home. This can prove to be quite costly on the energy bill so in this article we will give you some handy tips on how to keep your home and yourself warm and help to keep those heating bills down. 

Service your boiler or heating system

The last thing you need is for your heating system to break down in the midst of Winter when it is coldest.  This is often compounded by the fact that it will be peak season for boiler repair companies who will be dealing with other breakdowns so their response time might be slower than you would like. Regular servicing and maintenance can prevent a breakdown and will make sure your system is running at its optimal.

Insulate your home

When looking at insulation the first and foremost action should be to make sure you have the right amount of insulation in your loft. Often older houses do not have the recommended 270mm of loft insulation. This will increase the amount of heat lost from your house through your loft space. The Energy saving trust suggests that you could reduce your heating bills by up to £395 in a detached house and of course if your home always feels cold good loft insultation will help to retain the heat.

Cavity wall insulation, where possible, is also a good way to keep your home warmer. About a third of heat lost in uninsulated homes is through the walls. If your home was built before 1990 there is a chance that it might not have any wall insulation so it might be worth looking in to that.

British Gas recommend that you insulate your pipes and it also makes sense to insulate hot water tanks too. This will ensure that the water in your pipes to your radiators stays warm and so will keep the efficiency of your heating system where it needs to be.

One great tip is to put aluminium foil behind radiators on external walls.  This will reflect heat back into your home and stop it being lost through the wall. This could be as simple as wrapping kitchen foil around some cardboard and putting it behind the radiator. Also, Don’t forget to bleed your radiators to ensure they are working at full capacity.

Draught proofing

A large amount of heat is lost from a house due to draughts and it makes a lot of sense to sort these out. Draughts can come from a variety of places such as doors, windows, chimneys and even floors.

Windows: Put flexible foam draught excluding strips on windows which open to reduce gaps and draughts. Consider buying double glazing if you don’t have it and if this is beyond your budget consider secondary glazing to reduce heat loss. Another great way to retain warmth is to consider good, old fashioned thick curtains across your windows. You’d be surprised at how effective these can be.

Doors:  As with windows, install foam draught excluders to your door frames, to help fill those pesky gaps. You could also put the traditional sausage draught excluders at the base of your door.  Installing the brush type excluders in your letter box will also make a big difference and you can even fit a keyhole cover as well. Finally, if it suits your home, why not also add nice thick curtains to cover your door? Keep internal doors in your home closed to stop draughts moving around but also to simply keep the heat in the room you want to heat.

Chimneys: Modern, new built houses tend to only have decorative chimneys but if you are lucky enough to have an older home with a real one, but you don’t have a fire then you run the risk of losing a lot of heat through the chimney. You can fit a chimney draught excluder to stop heat loss through your chimney.

Floors: Old fashioned floorboards fitted over a floor void are another source of draughts in your home. If you love the look of them and don’t want to cover them with a carpet, why not consider a nice rug over the winter period just to keep those draughts out?

Intelligent heating control

By installing thermostatic valves on your radiators, you can ensure that each room is heated to exactly the temperature you want. This is much more effective than having one single thermostat in the house. You could even look at adding dual zone main thermostats so that your upstairs and downstairs are controlled separately. Another option is to fit smart thermostats such as Hive or Nest. This will allow you very precise temperature control of your home, even when you are not there!

Cosying Up

Add plenty of warm soft furnishings to your home, there is a wealth of wonderfully warming chunky knit, faux fur and fleecy throws available both online and in the high street stores. Team them with over sized cushions and your favourite hot beverage whilst you relax of an evening.

Identify why you are cold

Sometimes we feel cold but the temperature in the room is fine for everyone else. A lack of sleep can cause you to feel cold. Are you getting enough good quality sleep? Sometimes feeling cold is an indicator of an underlying health issue. If you have any concerns, it is worthwhile visiting your GP.

Dress for the Season

A final note on keeping warm this winter is to simply add another layer if you are feeling cold. Rather than wearing a single item of thicker clothing, consider wearing layers of thinner materials, you can then add and remove items depending on the ambience you encounter during your day. Make sure your extremities are warm, avoid going barefoot at home and wear gloves, hat and scarf when going out.

Winter is a wonderful time of year, but no one looks forward to being cold, by following some of these handy tips you will be well set to enjoy with winter but stay warm and cosy at the same time.