While our modular loft conversions are built with modern insulation materials to ensure optimum energy efficiency, the rest of your home might not be. However, there are ways to keep warmer this winter without reaching for the thermostat. How?
1. Be curtain-conscious
Open all your curtains during the morning and let the sunlight stream in during the day, giving your home a free heat boost. Then once night falls, draw them all closed again. Windows, even when double glazed, are several degrees colder than the rest of your home, and having your blinds or curtains closed helps insulate your room against the chilly glass. This can reduce the amount of heat that escapes your home by as much as 15%.
2. Move your furniture
You might have your favourite seat right up against the radiator, but this is actually absorbing heat which should be warming your home. Leave a gap to ensure the radiator is heating the air and allowing it to circulate freely, rather than simply heating up the fabric of your sofa. This also applies to curtains or even drying clothes.
3. Block out draughts
If you have a gap under your doors you can use draught excluders to plug the gap. You can buy these or make them yourself. There are various ways to make a draught excluder; one very simple one is to fill an old pair of tights with socks or old t-shirts. Your front door typically lets out a lot of heat which you can reduce by fitting key-hole covers on old-fashioned keyholes, or by installing a draught excluder on your letterbox.
4. Cover your walls
Not good advice for the determined minimalist, however, hanging artwork and mirrors on your walls can increase their surface temperatures and decrease heat-loss. A full bookshelf is particularly good insulation, so think twice before swapping your paper tomes for a Kindle.
Carpets are the most energy-efficient thing to have under your feet. However, if you love the look of wooden floorboards, consider buying some rugs to cover parts of it. This cuts down on the heat-loss and keeps your feet warmer. If there are any gaps in your floorboards, fill them as best you can.
6. Consider the chimney
For most of us, our fireplaces are purely decorative. If you’re not using it, and your chimney is intact, consider buying a chimney balloon. This is inflated inside the chimney, out of sight, and shuts out incoming cold air or escaping heat. Just make sure you remove it if you ever decide to light a fire.
7. Make good use of your boiler timer
Set it to come on before you wake up, leave it off while you are at work, and have it come back on near the time you get home again. This will ensure your house is warm when you need it to be, without wasting energy when you don’t. During particularly cold spells, you should set your timer to switch on the heating earlier rather than turning the thermostat higher.
8. Fit tin foil behind your radiators
This will reflect heat back into the room and stop it disappearing through the wall, which is especially useful for radiators fitted to external walls. You can by foil specially designed for this purpose, however you may even be able to use good-quality kitchen foil.
9. Pipe lagging
Pipe lagging means insulating any exposed hot water pipes in your home with foam tubes. This keeps the water inside your pipes hotter, making your heating and hot water more efficient. This is widely available from DIY stores and can be fitted in seconds. While not very aesthetically pleasing, there is certainly no reason not to fit it on pipes that are out-of-sight.
10. Bleed your radiators
If you have not done this for a while, it could be a very simple way to improve the efficiency of your heating. Trapped air prevents hot water from rising to the top of the radiator. If your radiator is hot at the bottom but cold further up, this means it definitely needs to be bled. Doing this is simple; all you need is a radiator key, available from DIY stores for as little as £1, or a small screwdriver. Open the valve and let out the air until water starts bubbling out, and then close it again.
There are also a few common misconceptions that you should avoid to help keep your house warm without sending your bills skyrocketing.
1. Many people turn the thermostat up as the temperature drops outside, but this is a mistake. The thermostat maintains the temperature at whatever you set it to, automatically using more or less hot water to do this. There is no need to turn it up even higher.
2. Many people also believe turning up the thermostat will heat the room quicker, but this isn’t the case.
3. Finally, some people believe it is more efficient to leave the heating on at low temperature all day rather than turning it off and on. However, this simply means your home never reaches a comfortable temperature, and keeps your central heating running when there’s nobody home to benefit from it.
Landmark Lofts is part of the Landmark Group - the only group in London specialising in the project management of loft conversions, extensions and refurbishments to include a Chartered Building Company (CIOB), Chartered Architectural Practice (RIBA) and to be regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The Landmark Group specialises in the project management of loft conversions, extensions and refurbishments.