With winter’s icy grip taking hold across the UK, it may be tempting to dial up the heating and leave it on a high setting till spring. But the impact on energy bills – not to mention our carbon footprint – should not be underestimated.
Fortunately, there are many simple ways that heat can be conserved around the home and energy bills reduced. And as Britain works towards its target of zero net carbon emissions by 2050, it’s more important than ever to reduce CO2 emissions within our homes.
Here, Rex Nye, who owns online builders’ merchants NYEs Building Supplies, shares his top tips for helping you to keep warm while saving cash (and carbon).
According to the Energy Saving Trust, a quarter of heat is lost through the roof in an uninsulated home. If your loft lacks insulation, make it your mission to act this winter. It’s possible to lay insulation yourself, but for best results call in professionals, who will know exactly which types of insulation are suited to your loft space. As well as insulating over floor joists, it’s possible to fit insulation between and over the roof rafters.
Deal with draughts
Even in a new-build house, it’s likely you will be losing heat through narrow gaps around windows and skirting boards. If you’ve stripped your floor back to the original boards in an
older property, the results might look fabulous but your feet will be feeling the chill. Use draught excluding products such as silicone sealant to stop up these gaps. Keep doors closed and use a draught excluder – a rolled-up towel or blanket will work just as well as a shop-bought excluder. Block up unused chimneys using a chimney balloon or simply a bin bag packed with loft insulation.
Turn down the thermostat
Is your room thermostat set to a toasty 23 degrees or even higher? Turning it down by just one degree could save around £80 a year in heating bills, says the Energy Saving Trust. For most people, around 18 – 21 degrees should be warm enough (if the prospect is enough to make you shiver, please consider the next tip!). Install separate radiator thermostats and turn them down to frost setting in any unused rooms.
Wear extra layers
Wearing a thick jumper but still feeling the cold? You may need to rethink your indoor winter clothing. A combination of multiple thin layers is the key to staying cosy, because warm air trapped between the layers acts as an insulator. A good old-fashioned thermal vest might be all you need to stop the shivers and help you resist the temptation to whack up the thermostat.
Soft furnishings – think strategically
Your living room or bedroom may look worthy of a style magazine, but is it energy efficient? Floor-length curtains that completely cover a radiator when pulled will massively limit the radiator’s ability to heat a room. Ideally, curtains should fall to the level of the window sill. Thermal curtains or liners are now widely available and can make a real difference. Place sofas and chairs close to radiators for comfort, but never block radiators totally.