15 methods to winter-proof your home now

Cost of living: Couple outline 'significant impact' of energy bills

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Due to the energy crisis, switching on the heating isn’t as simple as it has been in previous years. Consumer finance journalist Harriet Meyer spoke about how people can keep themselves as warm as possible without always having to resort to central heating.

1. Find where the heat escapes in your home

Be aware of places in the house that may let in draughts, including windows, doors, floorboards, chimneys, letter boxes and loft hatches.

In order to find prime places for heat loss at home, you can hold a candle near these areas to see if the flame dances around.

Alternatively, a thermal leak detector will do the same job. The BLACK DECKER Digital Thermal Leak Detector TLD100 is available on Amazon for £48.95.

2. Draught-proof your doors

For those cold, wintery nights, it’s best to stop the draught coming in as best you can.

For gaps at the bottom of the front and back doors, the most durable choice is a “brush” draught-excluder.

The Draft Excluder for Doors, Draft Excluder for Windows, 5m(L) x 9mm(W) x 9mm(T) Self-Adhesive Brush Seal Strip Air Stopper for Sliding Doors Window- Grey is available on Amazon for £5.99, however these can also be made at home from rolled up towels or tights filled with old clothes.

3. Plug unused chimneys

For those with unused chimneys, stop the hole with an inflatable chimney balloon – available online and on Amazon for 27.99.

Alternatively, create a make-shift chimney balloon using balls of newspaper or old pillows.

The Energy Saving Trust (EST) estimates that installing a chimney draught-excluder can save you around £65 a year on energy bills.

4. Seal your windows

Clingfilm can be fixed on the outside of window frames to keep your house toasty, or a secondary-glazing film.

For a cheaper version of double-glazing, money savers can fit a layer of glass or plastic inside their window frames.

For those unable to change their windows, fitting self-adhesive foam strips to seal around windows and prevent air leakages will do the trick.

5. Install double-glazing

According to the Double Glazing Network, double glazing each window can cost Britons between £150 to £600.

However, this more expensive alternative is key to keeping your house warm during the winter.

The EST recommends double-glazed glass with an energy rating of B or above.

According to the Double Glazing Network, B Rated windows have most of the energy-saving benefits A Rated windows have to offer, and they’re slightly cheaper to buy and install up-front.

6. Put up thermal curtains

Closing your curtains when it starts to get darker will stop heat escaping through your windows.

But as for what kind of curtains you are closing, these should be heavy-duty thermal lined curtains.

These are available on Amazon from £18.99 upwards, and can also be found at Next and John Lewis, among other retailers.

If you don’t want to invest in new curtains, you can sew thermal linings into existing ones, or use Velcro to add them in.

7. Insulate your loft

According to the EST, an insulated loft can save up to £355 a year on energy bills in a semi-detached house, rising to £590 for a detached house.

And this isn’t a job that necessarily must be done by the professionals.

If you can easily access your roof, you can do this yourself using rolls of mineral wool.

According to the EST, it costs around £630 to insulate a loft in a detached house, £480 for a semi-detached, and £455 for a terraced house.

You may be eligible for free loft insulations under the energy company obligation (ECO) scheme.

According to Money Saving Expert, you will likely qualify if you own your own home (or – in some cases – rent from a private landlord) and Someone living at the property qualifies for certain benefits, such as pension credit, universal credit, child benefit (subject to income limits), carer’s allowance and disability living allowance.

8. Insulate walls

According to the EST, a third of all heat lost in homes is through uninsulated walls.

For homes built after 1920, it probably has cavity walls, which lose less heat than solid walls. To insulate them, an installer will need to drill holes and inject insulating material into the walls, costing between £395 to £1,800, according to the EST.

Some may qualify for free cavity-wall insulation under the ECO scheme.

Insulating the walls in older houses will likely be more expensive, but can be done on the inside or outside of the property. Internal wall insulation is cheaper but reduces floor space.

9. Install radiator reflector panels

Fit reflector panels behind your radiators so heat is reflected into the room rather than lost into the wall.

10. Bleed your radiators

Making sure there is no trapped air in your radiators will keep your central heating system running effectively.

According to Simon Oram, category manager at Toolstation, running your hands over a radiator that has been switched on is an easy way to tell if there is trapped air inside.

A radiator that is cooler at the top is a good sign of this, and the radiator might therefore need bleeding.

11. Tackle floorboard gaps and insulation

You might be surprised to know that even small gaps in the floor might let in the odd draught.

If you’re willing to spend the money, you can insulate the ground floor.

For a quicker, cheaper alternative, a rug will make your home feel warmer instantly.

12. Check your room layout

Room layout isn’t all about feng shui or artistic expression – sometimes it’s got to be practical.

Beds and sofas should not be placed directly in front of radiators, as the warm air won’t be able to circulate.

They also shouldn’t be kept right next to windows and doors, so you can avoid draughts.

13. Get your boiler serviced – or upgrade it

Consumer finance journalist Harriet Meyer explained people should be getting their boiler serviced once a year, and preferably before the colder months rear their heads.

However, switching to a new boiler will be very efficient – albeit costly – in reducing energy bills in the long run.

According to the EST, replacing an F-rated boiler with an A-rated boiler could save Britons in a semi-detached house up to £380 a year.

14. Manage your thermostat

Be savvy when it comes to how often to switch the heating on. Some apps will allow you to control your heating from your phone.

Another idea is to turn it down by just one degree celsius – you probably won’t notice the difference.

15. Insulate your water tanks and pipes

Check that your hot-water tank has a lagging jacket to retain the heat. The pipes that run to and from the tank also need to be insulated, using foam tubes, Meyer told the Guardian.

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