Keep Your Family Warm, Save Money & Help the Environment
This year (2014) has been one of the hottest summers on record in the United Kingdom and one of the mildest autumns. It’s so mild outside (18th November) that I’m still wearing my denim jacket rather than my big padded winter coat.
That’s the good news, the bad news is we have been warned to expect one of the coldest winters on record with an expected arctic freeze to arrive on our shores. How the weather guys know this I have no idea but when we here news like this it’s always better to prepare for the worst, especially with energy bills being so high and so forth.
We have come up with a list of ideas that will help us stay warm and save money during the expected cold snap. Some are obscure while some will be more common but each idea will help in some way or another.
Although UK focused, most of these tips can apply to other nationalities living in colder parts of the world.
1. Central Heating Timers - All modern boilers now have easy to use timers but it’s surprising how many people refuse to teach themselves how to use them. Rather than burning through gas or electricity to keep your home warm when all the family is out is not economical nor is it good for the environment. It really is easy to set up. The most common setup would be to time the heating to come on an hour before the first family member rises and for it to go off when the last family member leaves for work or school. Same goes for when family members start arriving home, set to go on an hour before so the home is nice and toasty. Following the guide above ensures everyone is warm when in the home while saving 7 hours per week day on heating bills and doing your bit for the environment.
2. Loft Insulation – Insulated lofts let out so much warmth that the UK government is providing an energy grant scheme offering home owners free loft insulation. Insulating the loft will save the average household £150 per year. To find out more about the UK’s energy grant please click here. For homes that don’t qualify for the free loft insulation it’s still pretty cheap to buy a few rolls of insulation. The average household only needs 3 rolls. Using mineral wood and/or recycled paper has also proven to work very well.
3. Loft Hatch Insulation – Only reason this is mentioned is because it’s often overlooked when the rest of the loft is being insulated. Sticky foam strips will cost a couple of quid and work a treat.
4. Covering Up Exposed Floorboards – Exposed treated floorboards do look classy and certainly add style to most homes, however this could be costly when cold snaps arrive. Laying a big rug over the floorboards during winter time will help but big rugs could cost a lot depending on big the room/rooms are. A better long term solution would be to using a good silicon based filler to fill in the gaps.
5. Keep Doors Closed in Unused Rooms - Simple advice here!
6. Draught Excluders – We all remember these from back in the day. The homemade sausage or snake draught excluders are always a fun item to have around if you have kids. It’s also fun getting your offspring involved in making them but most of all, they will help prevent heat escaping from rooms that have doors with big gaps at the bottom.
7. Radiator Reflective Foil – A rather unusual tip but one that works a treat. Purchase some radiator reflective foil (it’s not expensive) and place behind radiators that are fitted onto external walls. The foil will reflect heat back into the room rather than seeping into the wall and escaping.
8. Let Heat Circulate – Not always practical but where possible leave plenty of room in front of your radiators so the heat can circulate around the room; where not possible, at least leave a few inches. For rooms with high ceilings it’s good to place a shelf a foot or two above the radiator. This will reflect the heat back into the room and will prevent it from traveling straight upwards.
9. Insulate Glazing – A special insulating film can be fitted to single glazed windows. The film isn’t expensive and is easy to fit, the only drawback being that windows can’t be opened when fitted as the seals will be broken. As its inexpensive I would advise fitting the film when the cold months arrive and take off when the weather is milder.
10. Cavity wall insulation – The large majority of homes built since 1920 have a gap between internal and external walls. Filling this gap with insulation such as foam or mineral wood prevents hot air from escaping the home and keeps the cold air out. Like the loft insulation the UK government and energy companies are offering this free to certain households.
All the staff here at Trade Radiators HQ hopes the advice will help you all stay warm this winter. Remember and do what you can to help the old and vulnerable this winter!