Keeping Warm for Less This Winter

Written by Karen Bryan

winter warmerThe Winter Warmer checklist from Safestyle describes ways to stay warm while keeping heating bills as low as possible. With the recent announcements of increases in the price of gas and electricity and Winter fast approaching, it’s timely advice.

Below are the twelve tips on the checklist, with my take on each.

Insulate your loft – Although we already had loft insulation, it wasn’t up to the recommended thickness. A couple of years ago we paid £100 to have the loft insulation improved through a subsided scheme.

Fit draught excluders to all doors – Our external doors came fitted with insulation. I’ve never noticed draughts coming from our internal doors. I think it would make our internal doors look quite ugly to attach draught excluders.

Double glaze windows – We had to replace the rickety Georgian style wooden framed windows, which would rattle in the wind, when we moved into our home seven years ago.

Fit brush strips to your letterbox –  When we had  a new front door fitted,  the integral letter box was already insulated. We have had problems in the past with brush strips breaking when the postie tried to push large letters through the post box.

Install cavity wall insulation  – We were offered cavity wall insulation for £100 at the same time as the loft insulation improvements. However, when the workman drilled a hole in a brick he saw that we already had cavity wall insulation. Evidently getting this insulation can save you up to £300 a year.

Service your boiler regularly – We have our boiler serviced annually under our central heating breakdown cover which should help it to run efficiently. It’s an old boiler but pretty reliable.

Keep internal doors closed – We already do this. It must make all these open plan homes more expensive to heat.

Fit heavy, thick curtains or blinds– All our curtains have lining and we close the curtains as soon as it starts to get dark.

Put reflective panels behind your radiators –  This is supposed to reflect the heat back into the room, instead of it being absorbed by the walls. We’ve never tried this, but it could be hard to fit them as the wallpaper behind some of our radiators is loose.

Use thermostatic radiator valves – This enables you to switch off radiators or reduce the heat output in specific rooms. We didn’t pay the additional cost of having these valves installed. Instead, when it’s not too cold, we heat individual rooms with electric convection heaters.

Turn down the thermostat – Turning down your thermostat by one degree could save up to 10% on your heating bill. We usually have our thermostat at around 17 degrees. I’ve already taken the Government’s unofficial advice to wear a jumper. In fact, I wear two jumpers and two pairs of trousers. I certainly won’t be winning any fashion awards, but it means that I we’ve only had the heating on twice for a couple of hours since Summer.

Fill gaps in floorboards – Our home has carpet or vinyl flooring fitted throughout, so we don’t have any exposed floorboards. I’ve often wondered if having wooden or laminate floors in living areas makes it harder to heat your home.