When does winter start for you? Is it when you have to switch the heating on, when you first reach for the wooly socks or when the clocks go back? In astronomical terms, winter officially starts on 21st December this year. That’s the date of the winter solstice or the shortest day of the year.
If you haven’t already, now’s a good time to take a look around your home and do what you can to get it ready for winter. With rising fuel bills, the last thing you want is for all your heat to be going out through the roof or creeping through the gaps under your doors.
We’ve been thinking about some simple things you can do to keep your homes warm and cosy. Some of them will cost you a bit of money to achieve. Others are just easy fixes that you can do right now without spending a penny.
On average, about 25 per cent of heat loss is through the roof. The easiest way to reduce that and save on your heating bills is to top up or install loft insulation. It’s a simple thing to do, yet this is one area that so many people forget about. It’s a staggering fact but if every home in the UK had the recommended level of loft insulation, it would save enough energy to heat 750,000 homes. Imagine how much money is being wasted!
There are many companies out there who will insulate the loft for you, or it’s quite possible to pop into your local DIY store and get everything you need to do the job yourself.
Most homes have some insulation, but current guidelines say it should be at least 270mm thick. Rolls of blanket insulation or foam insulation come in different thicknesses and widths and can be laid on top of your loft floor between the joists – around 3 rolls should be enough to give most lofts a good level of protection.
There are also mineral wool, glass fibre and recycled paper products on the market which work well too – just remember to wear a facemask, goggles and protective clothing if you do it yourself, and leave sufficient gaps around the eaves to avoid condensation.
Windows and Doors
This is another area where the pound notes like to escape. Especially if you live in an older house, ill-fitting and draughty doors and windows can be a real problem. The most effective way to combat this is to replace them with double glazing that block all the draughts and are highly energy efficient. Did you know that everything we fit at Crystal Clear, has an ‘A’ energy rating?
If double glazing’s not an option, you can stop some of the heat loss from your windows by using a special film which sticks to the frames and is sealed with the use of a hairdryer. You can buy a pack of film for about £15 – the only downside is you won’t be able to open your windows without breaking the seal.
You can also block draughts by using cheap self-adhesive foam strips around your windows or doors. Or for a bit more money, you can fix metal or plastic strips with brushes or wipers – these work really well and will probably last you a bit longer.
This is something you might not think about, but if the wind is howling through your draughty windows, block it out with a good pair of thick, heavy curtains. If they’re lined, that’s perfect. If not, you can easily add a pair of thermal linings to the curtains you already have.
Some people also add a rail across their front door so they can hang up a heavy door curtain to block all the nasty draughts and keep out the cold.
While your radiators are working hard to heat your rooms, don’t make life difficult for them. Check that you’re not blocking all the heat by putting sofas or big pieces of furniture right up against them, or constantly covering them with a week’s worth of washing.
If your radiators are sited on an outside wall, much of their heat may be going in the wrong direction. You can buy heat reflective foil to put behind them to ensure the heat is bounced back into the room. Good quality tin foil from your kitchen will also work – though it may not be quite as effective.
And finally, search out any odd draughts that whip through your home from cat flaps, down chimneys, through the letterbox or even up through floorboards. If your fireplace isn’t being used, you can seal it up or install a special chimney balloon to block the void. Similarly, a great deal of cold coming up through the floor can be shut out with cosy rugs or by going back to having a fitted carpet.
Fancy a chat?
Hopefully, that will help you get all set for a cosy winter and a more manageable fuel bill at the end of it. If you’re thinking it’s time to invest in some new energy efficient windows or doors, just call one of our friendly team on 01179 717880 and they’ll be happy to advise you.