With winter upon us, find out how you can keep warm for less
With everyone facing rising energy bills this Winter – we’ve come up with some cheap ways* to keep you home warm:
Use tin foil. One way to prevent unnecessary heat loss from radiators, particularly on those attached to external walls, is to use heat reflective aluminium foil behind the radiator. This prevents heat disappearing through the wall by reflecting it back into the room – price of a roll of tin foil – about £1
Thick curtains are one of the main ways to protect your house from losing heat through the windows and doors. You can even line existing curtains with any spare material you may have such as sheets or duvet covers – so you don’t have to splash out expensive curtains. If you don’t have curtains – improvise with any large material or a rug against your coldest areas. If you have long curtains hanging over a radiator tuck them in so the heat comes into the room.
Let the sunlight in during the day. It's important to try to use as much natural - and free - heat (in the form of sunlight) as possible. AgeUK suggest opening all window shades and curtains during the day but closing your curtains as soon as dusk falls to retain that heat.
Find out if you are able to get any Financial help towards your energy bills. The Government’s Warm Front Scheme has been set up to help older people and those on low incomes. For more information go to www.adviceguide.co.uk – search ‘Warm Home Discount Scheme’. You may also want to consider switching your energy supplier to save money -check out this article for more details on how to do this.
Stop heat being lost up the chimney. It's now fairly common to have fireplaces that are merely decorative and you could block yours using a special ‘chimney balloon’ which is made from a special laminate and costs £20 – it works by being placed inside the chimney hole, just out of sight. It's then inflated until it completely shuts out any incoming cold air or escaping heat. Just be sure not to start a fire without removing it.
Watch out for mini-draughts. Lots of draught comes through the letterbox and even the keyhole! You can buy a letter box brush to reduce draughts and a proper key hole cover for under a £5. If you have a dog or cat flap make sure these are covered – perhaps with a spare blanket – which means they can still be used but not let in the cold.
DIY draught excluders are one lesson people can learn from previous generations. In the past it wasn't unusual to have a 'sausage dog' – this was a dog made from old tights filled with old socks or unwanted clothes and then adding a head/legs if you wanted to jazz it up. You then put it at the bottom of your door to stop the draughts.
Clear your radiators. Try and avoid placing large pieces of furniture in front of them – it might be nice to sit beside the radiator but your seat/sofa will be blocking the heat coming into your room.
Put a shelf above the radiator, especially if you have high ceilings, can also help channel the warmth back into the room. Please remember it's important not to place things on the radiator itself.
Shut up unused rooms by keeping doors closed as this will prevent cold air moving into the rest of the house and contain the heat you've generated in a smaller area.