Energy has become ever more expensive in recent months. Now winter has really kicked in; we are all looking to avoid switching on the heating. While there have been suggestions in the news for changing your system, it is more realistic that you can only afford some DIY jobs to see you through. Here we explore some of the best ways to save energy and feel cosy.
Before you get started
Before you get going, make sure you are on the best energy deal for your home. You may be already spending more than you have to and a quick online comparison can put you right.
Secondly, you need to know how energy efficient your home is. You may have an Energy Performance Certificate already, as you may have just moved or recently marketed your home. If you don’t have an EPC, you can get one for between £60 and £120. You will be given a rating between A (highly efficient) and G (poor efficiency). With your rating, you will receive a list of potential jobs you can do on your home to increase its energy efficiency, though you may find some of these are ambitious and may not offer a return on the investment.
You can also check yourself by walking around your home and feeling for cold spots and drafts. Any cold air flowing through makes the heating less effective, especially if the draft is close to your thermostat. When you have identified the problem, you can use one of these tips to keep your house warmer this winter.
Insulate the roof
Buying insulation for your roof space is a sound idea, as a quarter of all heat is lost from your home this way. The Energy Savings Trust believes there is a strong return on investment in roof insulation, and when done well, it can last 40 years.
If you want to use your loft for storage, you can insulate and then put boards over the top to create the floor. Be sure to use plastic spacers to keep a gap between the insulation and the boards.
Insulate pipes and tanks
Another job you can do is to go around your home and put insulation tubing around your hot water pipes, and it is both inexpensive and simple to complete. Insulating pipes can also prevent problems when pipes contract when they get too cold.
The Energy Savings Trust also suggests buying an insulation jacket for your hot water tank, claiming it will pay for itself within a year.
Buy rugs and curtains
Cosy soft furnishing can significantly affect the temperature you set your thermostat. Wood floors are wonderfully easy to keep clean but can also make a room feel cold. Throwing down a thick rug in your living space can make a significant difference.
Equally, your windows lose you 10% of your home’s heating. It is not just that they may be poorly glazed, but that the coolness of the glass makes a room cold, just like it makes it warmer in the summer. Consequently, the DIY job you need to do is simply hang much thicker curtains. Closing these curtains on an evening can do a lot to keep the heat in your home.
Walking around your home, you will likely find places where the wind can blow through. Wherever this happens, you are losing heat. Consequently, you need to seal up outlets to the outside unless they are required for ventilation. For instance, if you have an old chimney that you do not use, you may want it sealed. Equally, something as simple as a draft-proof letterbox can make a difference.
Sealing single glazed windows
We would all like to install triple glazed window units, but the expense of this is high. For those with single glazing, you may want to mimic the effects of an additional layer using sheets of acrylic or something as simple as cling film. Putting the acrylic or cling film over the frames can help retain some of the heat in your home.
Lots of small decisions add up
You may think that these DIY jobs alone will do little to reduce your reliance on your heating this winter. However, imagine if you did all of them and how the aggregate effect might result in a big difference in your home.