With winter drawing in, the cosiness of your home becomes more important than ever. Keeping the cold out and home warm doesn’t have to be a struggle; a touch of modern tech and some tried-and-tested methods can turn your living space into a winter snug without costing a fortune.
When it’s bleak outside, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of being in your own cosy haven. So, how do you fend off the frostbite and reduce your energy bill without expenses going through the roof?
Here are some practical top tips to help keep your home warm this winter during those frosty months.
Get Smart with a Smart Thermostat
Ever considered a smart thermostat? These nifty gadgets connect to your phone, giving you control over your heating from anywhere. No more fretting about leaving the heating on; a quick tap on your screen and it’s sorted, even from the comfort of your bed or when you’re out and about.
But it’s not just about convenience. A smart thermostat can learn your schedule and adjust the heat just when needed, slashing energy waste. Plus, it monitors your usage over time, giving you insights into when and where you’re using your heat most effectively – or not. This means you can tweak your heating habits to save pennies and keep snug.
Seal Draughts and Find Escaping Heat
Next tip – get detective on your drafts. Heat can skedaddle through the tiniest of cracks in windows and walls, leaving you wondering why it’s nippy despite the heating being on full blast. So, it’s time to seal up the draughts to stop the cold air. Get yourself some sealant or draught-proofing strips for a DIY fix on windows and doors. You can buy a draft excluder for doors with gaps at the bottom.
Yet sometimes, the leaks aren’t so obvious. This is where a thermal detector comes in handy. These devices can show you where the heat’s escaping. It’s a bit like having X-ray specs for your home’s warmth. Use it around the house and it’ll point out where the cold’s seeping in. Once you know where the culprits are, you can insulate accordingly. A bit of effort here and you’ll be snug all winter long.
Make It Homely with Cosy Rugs
Now, let’s talk about floors. Tiles and hard floors are stylish, but they don’t half get cold. So, how about laying down some cosy rugs? They’re an instant uplift to any room, adding a splash of style and a layer of warmth underfoot.
Rugs act like a blanket for your floors, trapping heat and giving your feet a soft spot to land on chilly mornings. There’s a rug for every room – plush ones for your lounge, sturdy ones for the hallway. They’re not just practical; they add a bit of your personality to your home, too.
Consider materials like wool or fleece for their natural ability to insulate. Plus, there’s nothing quite like sinking your toes into a fluffy rug with a hot cuppa in hand, right?
Give Your Radiators and Boiler TLC
Your radiators do the heavy lifting with heating your home, but they need a bit of care to keep them ticking over nicely. Have a look at each one. Is it warming up evenly? If the top feels cooler than the bottom, it’s time to bleed them – this releases trapped air, allowing hot water to fill every part of the radiator.
Next, consider the waterflow temperature. It might sound technical, but it’s not. This is the temperature your boiler heats water to before it’s pumped into the radiators. A lower temperature over a longer time can be more efficient than blasting the heat for short bursts. And while you’re at it, think about getting reflector panels to stick to the wall behind the radiator — they reflect heat back into the room, rather than losing it through the walls.
Also, check out thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs). These little dials let you set the heat level for each room. They’re quite nifty and mean you’re not overheating rooms you’re not using. Remember, a bit of radiator maintenance goes a long way in keeping your home warmer, and it can save you some money too.
Insulate Pipes – A Low-Cost Hero
In winter, pipes can become mini refrigerators, letting heat escape and even freezing over. The answer? Insulate them. Head over to your local DIY store and get your hands on some foam pipe insulation – it’s cheap, and you can fit it yourself in no time.
Just like wrapping a scarf around your neck before stepping into the cold, wrapping your pipes keeps the warmth in your water, making your system more efficient and protecting against freezing. It’s a win-win situation – warmer pipes for less, and no risk of them becoming ice sticks.
Check Loft Insulation Thickness
Finally, take a peek in the loft. It might be the last place you think about when you’re trying to stay warm, but a lot of heat escapes through poorly insulated roofs. If your loft insulation is looking worse for wear, or if it’s not thick enough (you’ll want at least 270mm of the stuff), then improving it up can make a big difference.
Insulating your loft can seem like a big job, but it’s worth the hassle. It’s like putting a hat on your home, trapping heat inside where you want it. And while you could pay a professional, there are plenty of guides out there if you fancy saving some cash by doing it yourself.
Get the Temperature Just Right in Each Room
18-21 Celsius is the range you want to aim for. It’s warm enough to be cosy but not so warm that you’ll feel you’re basking in the tropics (and facing the heating bill to match).
Grab a digital thermostat and do a quick tour of your rooms. The living room might want to be at the top end of that scale, especially in the evenings when you’re settled in. Bedrooms, though, can be cooler; around 18 degrees is ideal because it’s healthier for sleeping. Adjust your thermostats accordingly and you’ll not only stay comfortable but could cut down on your energy usage too.
Combat Moisture with a Dehumidifier
A dehumidifier might not be the first thing you think of to warm up your home, but stick with us here. Excess moisture in the air can make it feel cooler than it actually is – damp air is a tougher beast to heat. So, by pulling moisture from the air, a dehumidifier helps the room feel warmer and your heating system won’t have to fight as hard to warm up faster.
Another not-so-obvious benefit is that some dehumidifiers can give off a little warmth as they operate, adding to the room’s heat. There’s a bonus, too – they can help with damp problems and prevent mould growth, which is healthier for your home and your lungs.
Use Your Oven’s Leftover Heat
When you’ve finished cooking a meal, your oven is still full of warmth that’s normally kept locked away. Instead of letting that heat fade away unused, crack the door open after you’ve switched it off and let that cosy, toasty air spread into the kitchen and beyond.
Be sure to keep your safety in mind, though; this is only a good move when you can be sure that no little hands or paws are likely to go exploring, and when the oven is off.
Check Your EPC Certificate for Recommendations
You’ve probably come across an EPC certificate before – that’s your Energy Performance Certificate. It’s packed with info on how energy-efficient your home is and comes with recommendations for improvements. Dig yours out from the depths of the paperwork drawer (we all have one) and have a good rummage through.
Your EPC will tell you what kind of insulation might be missing in your home – like in your loft or walls – and how much you might save by adding it. These upgrades could cost upfront, but think of it as stashing money away. Over time, the energy savings could be substantial, meaning more cash stays in your wallet.
There’s Warmth in the Drapes
When it’s bitter outside, sometimes simple solutions like draping your rooms in thermal curtains can make all the difference. If you’ve got a room that always seems to be cold, these curtains could be just the job. They’re made with special insulating materials that help block out the cold.
Thermal curtains are a cinch to install – no more complicated than hanging regular curtains. And they can double as a blackout curtain to help you get a better night’s sleep. This isn’t just about trapping heat; it’s about adding a little sanctuary from the world outside.
Embrace the Charm of a Hot Water Bottle
Never underestimate the humble hot water bottle. It’s a classic for a reason. Slip it into your bed to pre-warm those chilly sheets, or cuddle up with it on the sofa for some instant warmth that lasts for hours.
Here’s a clever bit – only boil the amount of water you need for your bottle. This small step can save you some money over time, as you’re not using energy to heat water that won’t be used. Plus, it’s quick, meaning you’ll be cosy with your bottle in no time.
Seek Advice from Energy Saving Experts
If you really want to make your home efficient, have a chinwag with an expert. The Energy Saving Trust has a wealth of information. They can advise on simple changes that can make a significant impact on your bills and comfort.
Best of all, their advice is tailored, factoring in things like the size of your house, the existing insulation, and what you can afford to do now. And sometimes, the right word of advice is all you need to make that cosy difference.
Get Cosy with Thermals
Don’t overlook the power of what you wear. Thermals aren’t just for daring explorers; they’re the unsung heroes of your winter wardrobe. A snug pair of thermal leggings and a toasty top can trap your body heat, keeping you warm without keeping the heating on high. And let’s talk about socks – thermal socks are like a jumper for your feet, an essential accessory for staying warm from the ground up.
With an excellent set of thermals, you may find you can keep the heating dialled down a smidge, all the while staying warmly wrapped in your thermal cocoon.
Thinking Big? Moving to a New Build Property
If you’re in the market for a house move, or if it’s something you haven’t ruled out, consider this: new-build properties often boast the best energy ratings. We’re talking EPC ratings of A or B. This means they’re built with energy efficiency in mind, with top-notch insulation, double or triple-glazed windows, and modern heating systems.
Moving home is a big decision, of course. But if you’re feeling the pinch every winter, it might be worthwhile to weigh up the benefits. A newer, more energy-efficient home could not only be cosier but also kinder to your bank balance in the long run.