With the Met Office recently predicting a chilly winter for 2017, we’ve been looking at how to keep your home warm this winter.
Temperatures are apparently set to plummet as we move towards Christmas with air blasting in from the arctic instead of the milder weather of recent years carried to our shores by the jet stream. With arctic air dominating, the chances of snow and ice lingering are far higher this year than in previous winters.
According to government statistics, heating your home between October and April accounts for over 70% of household energy consumption. So what can you do to ensure your home is snug and warm without spending a fortune on energy bills?
Follow our 10 top tips over the next few weeks to get yourselves prepared.
1. Get your boiler serviced
Before the cold blast hits, make sure your boiler is working as efficiently as it can. If you’re a tenant, contact your landlord or letting agent to get a Gas Safe Registered engineer to come and check all is in good working order. If you own your home, get ahead of the curve and get it booked early. Gas engineers get very busy when the cold strikes!
2. Bleed your radiators
This is one of those boring but crucial jobs that need doing once a year. If your radiators aren’t heating right to the top, they won’t be getting as hot as they can.
Bleeding radiators simply means releasing any trapped air that has made its way into the system. Just use a radiator bleed key (cheaply available at DIY stores) to open the valve at the top of each radiator in your home. You will hear air hiss out and then when you feel water – have a flannel handy to catch any drips – close the valve.
3. Put foil insulation behind your radiators
You can ensure your radiators are heating the room rather than the wall behind but putting foil insulation behind them. You can do this yourself by covering a sheet of card with tinfoil and slotting it behind the radiator. If you cut a T-shape, it will sit nicely on the radiator brackets! If you don’t fancy doing it yourself, you can buy ready-made radiator reflector panels at DIY shops or online.
4. Move furniture away from radiators
It may feel cosy to have the sofa in front of the radiator but its just absorbing vital heat. Move any furniture away from your radiators in winter to let them do their job properly.
5. Lag your hot water pipes
Putting foam pipe lagging on your hot water pipes means the water stays hotter for longer, making the heating and hot water more efficient. It’s a simple job that’s quick and easy to do. Pipe lagging is available at any DIY stop so get down there pronto!
6. Eliminate draughts
We all know where those sneaky draughts are in our homes. Now is the time to do something about them. Filling in gaps around draughty windows and doors can save you money on your heating bills and more importantly make your home cosier. Simply buy some draught excluding tape from a DIY shop and ensure if fits snugly around the frame. You can also buy draught excluders for the bottom of doors and rubber seals for window frames.
7. Use rugs on hard floors
Floors account for as much as 10% of heat loss if they’re not insulated, according to the National Energy Foundation (NEF). If you have hard floors, invest in some winter rugs to keep the floor – and your toes- snug.
8. Close your curtains as it gets dark
Much of the heat in your home escapes from windows so if you’ve got curtains, make sure you close them before it gets dark to keep heat in your home as the temperature drops outside. You can also invest in thermal curtains, which have an extra layer of thermal lining. If it’s a sunny day, make sure the curtains are open to make the most of the winter sun!
9. Use timers on your central heating
The Centre for Sustainable Energy advises that programming your boiler to turn the heating on a little earlier – such as 30 minutes before you get up in the morning – but at a lower temperature is cheaper than turning it on just as you need it at a higher temperature. Don’t make the mistake of leaving your heating on low all day – because you’re just paying for heat when you don’t need it.
Most energy suppliers now advocate the use of smart thermostats such as Nest, which can be controlled by your mobile phone. This means you can switch the heating on before you get home and turn it off if not required.
10 . Turn down your thermostat
This may sound counter-intuitive but whacking the heating up high when it’s cold isn’t the best way of heating your home. Public Health England recommends a minimum of 18°C in your living room. If you turn your thermostat down by by 1°C could cut your heating bill by up to 10%. So keep the dial at 18°C, save money and avoid the negative impacts a cold home.
There is a huge amount of advice available online on how to make your home energy efficient whilst keeping yourself cosy. A good place to start is the Energy Saving Trust.
Even if your home is rented, there is a lot you can do yourself to make it more energy efficient. Just a few hours of time invested in the next few weeks can make a big difference in the coming months.
If you’d like expert advice on managing your property this winter, why not speak to our Property Management team today?