Energy companies announced this winter just past that they are going to be hiking energy bills for UK homeowners. As per usual, they’re blaming the increasing cost of wholesale gas, meaning that bills are going to rise by more than £100 a year for most families. Overall, it’s bad news, but there are a lot of things that individuals can do to fight back and make their homes more energy efficient.
The good thing about these techniques is that the majority of them are low tech. Here’s how to quickly and cheaply keep your home warm.
Get Double-Thick Curtains
About 25 percent of all the heat lost from your home goes out the window – literally. But replacing all your windows with Everest triple-glazing is expensive, really expensive. The good news is that there is a cheaper and easier way that won’t break the bank: putting up thick curtains. Curtains are natural insulators, thanks to the fact that their material stores little pockets of air that act as a buffer for heat, preventing it from easily going out the window. According to Archna Luthra from the website, Money Saving Expert, the thicker the curtains, the better. You don’t just have to stick to windows either, she says. Thick curtains behind doors work miracles too.
Prevent Heat Loss
Your home has a number of key weak points where heat can easily be lost. The good news is that air gaps under doors and around windows can be sealed up using a thermal gap filler pad, a type of material that makes it much harder for heat to escape. According to interior designer Claire Potter, chimneys that lead up from open fireplaces are another way homes quickly lose their heat. She says that this can be stopped with something called a chimney balloon: a type of laminate material that works by being placed just inside the chimney hole. The air inside the balloon acts as an insulator, preventing the heat in the room from being sucked up, right out through the chimney stack.
Put A Shelf Above The Radiator
Another cool idea is to put a shelf above the radiator. This helps direct the heat to make it circulate around your room. Often radiators are placed beneath windows, meaning that a lot of heat escapes without warming the room at all. Directing radiator heat into the room with a shelf can help you heat a room faster, saving on your bills.
Cover Bare Floorboards
Floorboards are a nightmare if you’re trying to heat your home on a budget. The reason, according to Potter, is that there are so many gaps in floorboards where the air can escape. According to the National Energy Foundation, around 10 percent of heat loss in the average home is through the floorboards. Rugs, carpets and blankets can slow heat loss down. But Potter points out that the benefit of covering up floorboards is often as much psychological as it is physical. Having something soft underfoot makes it less likely that you’ll reach for the thermostat and turn the heat up.