Get ready for the BIG FREEZE

27th Nov 2012

With winter fast approaching now is the time to start thinking about making your home warmer and more energy efficient. It has been stated that the average UK household fuel bills but are expected to rise by as much as 70 per cent this winter. The Energy Saving Trust calculates that the average household could save up to £250 per year on their fuel bills by making simple energy saving improvements to their home.

Follow these top 10 tips to stay warm and save money this winter!

1. Draft proof the gaps Did you know that up to 25% of heat in many homes is lost through inadequate draft proofing? To ensure that you do not lose a quarter of the heat you are paying for through windows and doors check that they close properly. If there are gaps either use a draft excluder or fit draft proofing strips around the sides of the doors and windows.

2. Get a chimney balloon Traditional open fires can be beautiful and cosy but they are often associated with wasted heat. A chimney balloon stops heat escaping through open fires when they are not in use but can be easily and simply taken down when you want to use the fire.

3. Use thermostatic valves on radiators Only heat the room you are using and then stay in it. By having thermostatic valves fitted to your radiators you will be able to avoid heating rooms you never use, such as guest rooms. Also keeping internal doors closed means that it is easier to heat rooms you are using and heat is not lost on unused rooms and hallways.

4. Ensure water pipes are properly lagged To ensure your water pipes are working to maximum capacity make sure they are lagged correctly. Remember to check the loft for exposed pipes. If you are going away during the winter you should leave your heating on at a low temperature for a couple of hours a day so the pipes do not burst.

5. Service your boiler Check your heating system is working efficiently and ensure that you get your boiler serviced once a year by a Gas Registered heating engineer. If your boiler is more than seven years old, consider installing a more energy efficient one as you could save on your heating bills.

6. Insulate your loft Make sure your loft is well insulated; the current Building Regulations state that the minimum recommended level of loft insulation should be 200mm (8"). If your current insulation is 100mm (4"), or less, you should invest in having it topped up to the 200mm level. As 25 per cent of the heat, you have already paid for, is going through the roof it makes good sense to prevent the loss, save money on the heating bills and enjoy a much warmer, more comfortable home environment.

7. Insulate your walls You could also be losing a further 35% of your heat through the walls of your home so cutting the amount of heat lost through walls can drastically reduce your fuel bills. What can be done depends on the type of walls you have (most houses are either timber-frame construction, solid walls, or cavity walls) and on any plans you have to repair your walls. A good builder should be able to advise you on the best course of action.

8. Insulate your floors If you live in a period property with the original floorboards bare then you will probably notice the drafts coming up through the floorboards or how cold the floor gets during the winter. But even if you have carpets and don’t feel any drafts you could still be losing up to 15% of heating through the floor. Having floor insulation installed will dramatically reduce this.

9. Install double glazing By installing double or triple glazing you could reduce your homes heat lose by up to 20%. If you can’t afford new windows throughout your home you could just replace the windows in the rooms you use most or you could have secondary glazing installed, which can still save you considerable amounts.

10. Generate your own energy Generating your own energy can be a significant expense but if you chose the right technologies it could save you a substantial amount on your energy costs. The type of technology you can use will depend on a number of things; how much you want to spend, whether you can get planning permission from your local council and what you want to use it for. A specialist builder will be able to advise you on what’s best for your home.

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