24 March 2013

7 Energy Efficient Winter Warmers

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Keeping your home as energy efficient as possible can often mean expensive improvements such as cavity wall insulation and installing new double glazing. BUT, you don’t always have to go to these extents and every little counts, especially when it comes to saving money on your bills.

Here’s seven things you can try that will be just as efficient for your home as they are for your wallet!

1. Use Tin Foil – By using heat reflective tin foil behind your radiator, and particularly behind radiators on external walls, you’ll prevent unnecessary heat loss.  Instead of the heat disappearing through the wall, it will be reflected back into the room. You can use good quality tin foil or there is specially designed foil which costs around £10. 

2. Invest in a Chimney Balloon – Fireplaces are quite often used for decor rather than practicality. If you’re not using yours, you should consider investing in a chimney balloon. Made from a special laminate, they can cost as little as £20. They’re placed out of sight, inside the chimney and then it’s inflated until it shuts out any incoming cold air or escaping heat. It goes without saying that you should always remove the balloon before starting a fire.

3. Clear Your Radiators – In order to make your radiators as efficient as possible, avoid placing large pieces of furniture in front of them. 

4. Cover Bare Floorboards – According to the national energy foundation, uncovered floorboards account for as much as 10% of heat loss if they’re not insulated. If there are cracks or gaps in the flooring it’s a good idea to squirt some filler into them, advises the NEF. “Floorboards and skirting boards can contract, expand or move slightly with everyday use, so you should use a filler that can tolerate movement,” suggests the NEF. These are usually silicone-based.

5. Loft Insulation – It can seem expensive having your whole house professionally insulated. However, you might want to consider DIY insulation. Rolls of foam insulation are quite cheap and three rolls of 8 inch deep foam should be enough to give most lofts an important layer of protection. But remember to wear a face-mask, goggles and protective clothing if you do it yourself, and leave sufficient gaps around the eaves to avoid condensation. 

6. Set Your Timers – According to Age UK, it’s a myth that keeping your heating on all day is better. If it’s very cold, the timer should be switched on earlier, rather than turning up the thermostat to heat up the whole house quickly. 

7. Get Some Thick Curtains – This can be one of the main ways to stop heat escaping through your windows. Curtains with a thermal lining are a relatively cheap option and the thicker, the better. However, if you don’t want to splash out on new curtains, you can line them yourself with materials such as cheap fleece or even PVC shower curtains. You should also think about putting a curtain in front of outside doors to add another layer of protection.

If you’ve got any energy saving tips that you would like to share, please feel free to send them via email to newsletter@hannells.co.uk.