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Expert reveals how to keep your home warm without using energy this winter
Winter fuel bills are currently expected to rise to £3,549 this October. Google Trends reveals UK households searching for ‘energy savings’ are at a 12-month high, with searches soaring 117% this week above the average volume as people look for help with heating the home to save money on their energy bill. Searches for ‘how to keep house warm’ and ‘keep house warm’ skyrocketed this week by 300% and 222%, respectively.
Experts at Bed Kingdom share cheap ways to keep your home warm without using energy this winter. Using these tips could save over double the heat loss in your home without spending a penny more on your energy bills. Now is a great time to act to prepare for the colder months incoming.
Add loft insulation - save £580 per year
Loft space is often overlooked. Uninsulated lofts can lose 25% of your home’s heat through the roof. Go into your loft space and check how thick the insulation is. Recommended blanket-style insulation is between 250mm and 270mm depth. The type of roof your home has will play a part in how difficult it is to insulate. Pitched roofs are easiest, whereas flat and dormer roofs are more difficult to insulate.
Typical professional installation cost (detached house): £680
Typical DIY cost: From £5-11 per m2 roll
Typical energy savings per year (detached house): £580
Insulate windows - reduce heat loss up to 50%
Older houses especially tend to have draughty windows. In order to find draughts and air leaks, light a candle and walk through your home, going along the walls where any draughts may be entering your home. Once the candle begins to flicker, you have likely found a draught in your home.
To keep the heat from escaping, use a window insulator which you can get from any hardware shop. Properly insulating your home by sealing air leaks can save up to 20% on your energy bill.
A cheap alternative to a window insulation kit is to use bubble wrap on your windows. Simply cut the wrap according to the size of your windows and mist using water from a spray bottle. The water helps the bubble wrap to stick on windows. The bubble wrap can be easily removed without any damage or residue to scrub off. This can reduce heat loss up to 50% on single-pane and 20% on double-pane windows.
Window insulation kit average price: £3.99
Use thermal curtains - and let the sunlight in - reduces heat loss by up to 25%
Thermal curtains work by trapping the cold air between your window and curtain, preventing heat loss by blocking drafts from entering the home and improving energy efficiency. Reduces heat loss by up to 25%. Curtains must be closed to stay effective.
When it’s sunny, open your curtains to let sunlight in the house and warm up your room for free. Close the curtains as the sun goes away to retain the heat. Researchers from the University of Salford say that drawing your curtains at sunset can reduce heat loss by around 15-17%.
Thermal curtains: from £10
Draught-proof doors - reduce heat loss up to 25%
For external doors:
Your external doors can be leading causes of heat loss. Around 25% of the home’s heat escapes through cracks and gaps in the walls, windows and doors due to draughts. The most common causes of draught is from letter boxes, pet doors, the door frame and the bottom of your door. If you can’t invest in a new door, consider using a combination of covers and draught sealing materials to prevent heat loss. You can use draught excluding tape to seal the cracks and air leaks between your windows and doors for a cost-effective way to draught-proof your home.
For internal doors:
You can use old towels or blankets to exclude drafts by rolling them up and placing them at the base of your door. You can also make a DIY draft stopper using items found around the house. Take two tubes (i.e. from Christmas wrapping paper) and an old pair of tights. Cut one leg off the tights and feed both tubes into the leg. Feed one tube outside and the other inside the door, which will exclude draughts from your room for free or at a low cost.
Letter box seal: £5
Keyhole cover: From £2
Lay a rug down - reduce heat loss up to 20%
The right rug can keep your feet warm in winter. How warm depends on the material, pile and weight. Using an anti-slip underlay can also have the added benefit of providing extra warmth. According to the Carpet Institute, uninsulated floors can account for 10-20% heat loss in a home.
Rearrange your furniture - save up to 10% on bills
Keeping furniture away from radiators will let warm air move around the room. Any large furniture such as beds, sofas or wardrobes should be at least 1 foot away from radiators. This tip can save you up to 10% on bills. If your bed is next to an external wall, rearranging your room so your bed is against an internal wall will help you stay warmer.
Glass is not good for insulating rooms. If your bed is close to a window or external wall, rearranging your furniture so that your bed is away from windows and next to internal walls can be a cost-free way of staying warm at night.
Ditch the summer duvet
Switching to a 10.5 to 13 tog duvet will be perfect for winter. Opting for black bedding will also absorb heat. Keeping a blanket at hand at night will also help you stay warm while sleeping.
10.5 tog double size duvet: from £11
Install a radiator shelf
A floating shelf installed above a radiator can direct heat forward into the room rather than rising up to the ceiling, with the added benefit of extra storage space. Alternatively, use reflector panels behind the radiator to reduce heat loss and reflect heat back into the room.
Radiator shelf average price: £20
Reflector panels: from £7
Keep clothing off radiators
Drying wet clothes on a radiator can be a cause of multiple issues: mould, health risks, preventing heat from circulating, and it makes your boiler work harder. This can cost you a huge amount of money on your energy bills. Use a clothes dryer or towel rail by a window instead which will keep your radiators working efficiently.
Air can collect in the radiator, which prevents hot water from circulating around and heating up properly, costing you energy and money. All you need is a radiator key, an old cloth to hold the key with, and a jug to catch any droplets of water that may leak. If you don’t have a key, they can be quite cheap and it won’t take long to bleed a radiator. To tell if a radiator needs bleeding, feel them when they are on. If it feels hotter in some places than others, it means your radiator needs bleeding. Once you have identified which radiators need bleeding, turn the heating off and make sure they are cold before you begin. Identify the valve, which is usually on the side of the radiator. Insert the radiator key and turn anti-clockwise. You should hear the air hiss, and when you see water escape, shut the valve. Once the air is bled, your radiator can heat up correctly, which improves energy efficiency. Note: if you have a combi boiler, it will need to be re-pressurised afterwards.
Radiator key: from 80p
A spokesperson from Bed Kingdom had this to say:
“With households closely watching the energy price cap, there are millions across the country who are worried about paying their energy bills and heating the home. As summer ends and we enter the colder months, it is more important than ever to find affordable ways to stay warm without using gas or electricity. Using these tips will help to insulate your home and save you money on heating bills.”