As temperatures drop and the first frost arrives, you may want to think about ways in which you can keep your home as warm as possible. Winter bills can become a problem for households that keep their heating on high for long periods of time, but there are alternative low-cost ways of keeping your home warm.
Some heat is always going to escape from your property, but this can be curbed in certain areas. Aside from ensuring that the roof and walls of your home are properly insulated, your doors and windows should be given a lot of attention as these are prime culprits of heat-loss. So, if you’re looking for ways to reduce your heating bills while keeping your home warm, here are some things you can do to help.
Add additional locks to doors and windows
Older doors and windows may not retain heat as well as newer ones, but they can be expensive to replace. It’s also wise to wait until the spring or summer months before switching them due to the poor weather conditions we face at this time of year.
However, there are still some ways in which you can ensure that your doors and windows fit snugly into their frames to prevent draughts and the loss of heat. You can do this for a relatively small outlay by purchasing additional locks which will help to secure the frames closer together. This can make a big difference in terms of their efficiency and, what’s more, you’ll also be making your home more secure. According to lock manufacturer Yale, the risk of burglaries rises as the nights draw in, so it’s important that you stay vigilant at this time of year. If security is a particular concern, take a look at this autumn lock maintenance guide from door and window specialist Evander, which outlines exactly what you need to do before winter sets in.
Glazing film for single-glazing
If your home has single glazed windows, it could be losing twice as much heat than it would with double glazing. A material’s ability to insulate is measured in U-values and the lower the number the better. According to BuildingConservation.com, single glazed windows have a U-value of approximately 5.8, while double glazing has a U-value of 2.2. This means that double glazed windows are significantly more efficient.
Again, replacing your windows can be inconvenient and expensive, so making the switch isn’t always appropriate. However, you are likely to benefit from purchasing some secondary glazing film that is available at most DIY shops or online. This is a clear, flexible film (a bit like cling film) that can be applied to your windows, which will give them an extra heating-saving layer.
When trying to retain the heat within your home, you should look out for problem areas where draughts can originate. Your windows and doors might let in draughts, particularly from the bottom where damaged, unfit for purpose, or missing weatherstrips leave a larger gap than they’re supposed to. If this is the case, they’re relatively inexpensive to replace.
Or, if you prefer, you could use more traditional indoor draught excluders, which can be made from a variety of materials and come in a range of designs. They’re also quite easy to make if you are handy with a needle and thread.
Rugs and soft furnishings
Retaining heat within your home does not depend solely on how well you protect it from the elements outside, but also how easy it is for the warmth to say inside. A ‘heat sink’ retains heat more effectively than the air around it, so that a small amount radiates from it. The effects may seem subtle, but can make a noticeable difference to the temperature indoors.
If you have laminate or uncarpeted flooring, putting rugs down can help to retain more heat, too. You may have noticed that you rarely see carpeted flooring in hot countries. This is because laminate or marble is much cooler and does not retain much heat. Carpets will, though, so use rugs where possible during the winter months.
Any soft furnishing will act as a heat sink – particularly larger items such as sofas or lounge chairs. Soft materials like wool or heavy cotton are particularly effective insulators. Although, you can help a leather sofa feel warmer and act better as a heat sink using fleece throws and cushions. These can then be packed away in the summer if you prefer.
Small things add up to make a big difference, and being aware of your home’s weak points when it comes to insulation is the first step to improvement. Remember that you don’t have to spend a fortune to improve your house’s ability to retain heat, and use common sense to find a solution that works best for you.