We might have a bit of Summer left, but it seems like the long balmy evenings are already on the wane. Before you know it, the leaves will be needing raked up in the garden, the light summer clothes get changed up for a warmer jacket on the walks home from an evening out and eventually Winter will be firmly on its way. It’s nothing to get down about mind you, Winter is a beautiful season and with the right preparation and some simple steps, you’ll be on track for a cozy, draught-free dry winter. on its way and it’s probably a good idea to start considering some of the steps you can take to ensure you’re prepared for winter.
If there’s one thing houses do well, it’s leaking heat. Keeping draughts and dampness, condensation and cold at bay is a constant effort. For the householder, especially those with older properties, it can be an expensive and challenging task to maximise the opportunity to retain heat. In addition, fuel companies continuing to hike energy prices to unprecedented levels, despite reporting record profits year on year. As a result, many people are really feeling the pinch and trying to squeeze every penny’s worth of benefit out of their heating system. But let’s not paint a bleak picture, there is time yet, and remember, if your home is losing heat, there are things you can do, some of them a lot simpler than you might think. Don’t get into a spiral of paying for heat which is leaking out of your home. You wouldn’t run a bath without putting the plug in. So why heat a home which is not making the best of its thermal potential. As a starter, have a look through this winter checklist and I’ll promise to try not to mention the C-word involving the jolly man in the red suit.
1.Shop around for the best energy deals. Yes, it’s absolutely no fun at all, it can be cumbersome shopping around and then obtaining up to date meter readings to send to new suppliers, but it is simply the number 1 way of saving money this winter. It is now also easier than ever with the introduction of price comparison websites and consumer websites geared towards saving you money.
2.Check for local or national incentives which might help you insulate your home, fit solar panels, or help you replace obsolete glazing. Check with your local authority or the national government website for incentives, or grant funding in your area. This could save you a lot of money.
3.Get advice on your heating and radiators – Talking to a specialist about your heating system or radiators could be a good first step in saving loads on your heating bills. You may be losing a small fortune by working with an old and inefficient heating system. In addition, older style radiators can be hopelessly inefficient, and replacing the radiators in your home could be cheaper than you might think. It is certainly an investment you will wish give careful consideration. However, having the right system in your home could save you many thousands of pounds over its life-cycle. A professional will be able to advise you of system faults like magnetite rust and cold spots cause by blockages. These can be resolved by power flushing using chemical cleaners which will return the radiator into a pristine condition.
Trade Radiators offer discounts on Column Radiators, Heated Towel Rails, Aluminum Radiators, Cast Iron Radiators, Convector Radiators and Vales/Accessories so it might be worth checking out their discount page and seeing what they have to offer. It might good to invest in new radiators too as radiators manufactured before 2000 can be up to 50% less efficient! Modern radiators are more energy efficient and they actually tend to heat up faster due to the lower water content.
4. Wrap it up – If you can’t afford a new heating system then you might want to consider this. If you’ve got a new hot water tank you need to make sure it is properly insulated or lagged. This keeps the hot water warmer for much longer as the heat can’t escape as fast. An uninsulated water tank can save you up to £150 a year
5. Programmable thermostats – These are great, low cost option for keeping your bills low. Instead of fiddling with your thermostat every time you leave the house, a decent programmable thermostat tells the heating when to switch on and off. Correctly setting the temperature for your home will also provide you with stress free heating with almost no cost. If you don’t have one, look into fitting one in time for winter.
6.Let the Sun in – Natural sunlight can add a few essential degrees even on the coldest winter day. In addition, a naturally lit environment can have benefits in terms of general health and keeping those winter blues at bay. If you’re leaving the house for the day, make sure you open the blinds or curtains and let the sun in. Once the sun goes down get those curtains and blinds closed to keep the heat in.
7.Move furniture away from vents – Make sure any furniture is clear of ventilation in your home. This not only ensures that you are maximizing heat circulation throughout your home, but it will also help negate any dampness issues or pressure build up in some types of heating system.
8. Use reflective foil – You lose heat from radiators when they heat goes into the wall. If you put heat reflective aluminum foil behind your radiators, it will help prevent heat escaping through the wall. Foil will reflect it back into the room. You can get Foil that is specially designed for this. It can be bought quite cheaply at any hardware. If money is an issue you can use kitchen foil for this although this might not be as effective.
9.Preventative Measures Against Pipe Freezing – A burst pipe is a disaster. The very last thing you need is your pipes bursting in depths of the winter. With some very basic preparation, you can prevent pipes bursting because they’re frozen. You can take simple measures like installing or replacing heater tape around the pipes. A proper, modern thermostat built in so it prevents the pipes from overheating too!
10.Maximise your insulation – When it comes to heat, you can lose up to 25% of it through the roof. However installing thicker insulation can save you a tonne of money by reducing the heat you lose. Chat to your provider and see if there’s any schemes going on that will reduce the cost for you.
11.Turn down that dial – But hold on…what? Yes, it’s true, the World Health Organization previously recommended a minimum temperature of 21°C in the living room, but recent research closer to home revised this number down to 18°C in 2014. Research also shows that turning your thermostat down by as little as 1°C could cut your domestic heating bill by up to 10%. So, keep the dial at 18°C, saving you money and avoiding the negative impacts of a cold home.
12.Service your fireplace or gas fire – There’s may be some up-front cost here. Servicing your fireplace or gas fire will save you money due to more efficient heating. This lowers your bills.
You can appoint a specialist to inspect and undertake any required preventative maintenance. A specialist will also identify parts that need to be repaired or replaced. It is also part of their role to check for any gas or carbon monoxide leaks, which in turn will to keep your family safe. Many furnace warranties require this annual or regular maintenance for it to remain valid.
13.Rome wasn’t built in a day – It is worth keeping in mind that undertaking any one of these tasks will help to reduce your winter heating bills, so no need to panic if you can’t go out and get a new heating system or replace your roof insulation. There’s always next year and you can always spend time planning your budget shopping around for the best bang for your buck.
If you put in the work you can really refine your house and save yourself a fortune on Gas or electricity. There’s no need for dampness, condensation and cold this winter if you apply some of the tips above you’ll be able to stay warm cheaper.