In Britain, people typically switch their central heating on in October and use it daily until March or April. This coincides with the clocks going back, the drop in temperature and Winter Fuel Payments – to anyone who receives the state pension.
Recent figures show that nearly 2.5m households in the UK are in fuel poverty – which basically means that over 10% of British homes cannot afford to keep warm. While the scale of this problem is significant, not all the solutions need to be complex and costly. So here are just a few simple tips for keeping your home warm for little or no extra cost!
- Use your curtains
Heat from the sun is free so make the most of it. Open your curtains and let the sunlight in during the day to make use of this free heat. When it gets dark, shut your curtains, which act as another layer of insulation and keep warmth in your rooms. You should also make sure you don’t have any leaks or gaps so that the warm air can stay in and the cold air stays out – this also helps to reduce condensation.
- Move your sofa
It might feel great to have your favourite seat in front of the radiator, but it’s absorbing heat that could be warming your home. By moving it away from the radiator, hot air can circulate freely. The same goes for your curtains or drying clothes – keep them away from the radiator so that you can get the most out of your heat source.
- Maximise your insulation
When it comes to heat, around 25% is lost through the roof. This can be easily reduced by installing 25cm of insulation throughout your loft. It’s also worth seeing what’s going on in your walls, as around a third of the heat in an uninsulated home is lost this way. It is not particularly cheap to install, compared with loft insulation, but cavity wall insulation could save up to £160 a year in heating bills. It’s also worth checking with your energy supplier to see if they have any insulation schemes running.
- Block out the draughts
Even a simple solution such as a making your own sausage dog draught excluder will help keep the warmth in your home. Professionals estimate that DIY draught-proofing your doors, windows and cracks in the floor could save around £25 per year. Self-adhesive rubber seals around doors and windows and door draught excluders are relatively cheap and easy to install.
- Install thermostatic radiator valves
Research at the University of Salford has shown that installing heating controls and thermostatic radiator valves results in energy savings of 40% compared to a house with no controls. These work by allowing you to programme your heating to come on at set times – so you only use energy when you need it. New smart thermostats can also be controlled remotely via your mobile so you can turn on your heating on the way home, ensuring it’s nice and toasty when you arrive.
- Reflect the heat
Finally, radiator panels are relatively cheap, easy to install and ensure that heat from your radiators warms up your room and not your walls. They work by reflecting the heat directly back into the room.