Despite the rather mild weather conditions over Christmas, the winter of 2017 has so far been cold, frosty and, in certain parts of the country, snowy. Keeping warm at home during chillier weather is crucial for everyone, but it can involve increased energy bills and worries about how to pay them.
This will not only affect homeowners and tenants, but also letting agents, whose potential clients will be looking for rental properties that come with energy-saving measures and lower utility costs. Here are some tips to keep the house both cosy and economical to run over the coming weeks.
Windows and doors
Make sure you hang decent quality curtains at the windows, and pull them across when it gets cold. This can prevent heat escaping the home by as much as 15%.Have any badly fitting windows, or cracks in the glass repaired and consider upgrading any single-glazed panes to double glazing. Don’t forget to hang curtains over the doors too, to maximise heat retention and put down draught excluders too.
Floors and walls
Carpet helps keep in the heat, but if your house or flat has wooden or tiled floors, don’t despair, as you can add a few rugs to help stop draughts coming up through the floor and provide extra cosiness for your feet. Make sure the radiators work and don’t forget to book an annual service for them. Stick sheets of tin foil on the wall behind radiators to help direct more of the heat into the room, but make sure you don’t cause damage to the wall if you are renting, or only want to have the foil there temporarily.
Cutting the heating bills
It is cheaper to run your boiler via a thermostat that turns it on slightly earlier than required in the cold weather, rather than turning it on full blast just when you need it. Don’t just rely on the boiler to provide heat either. Many older houses still have open fireplaces, or you could leave oven doors open after you have finished cooking your meal to allow the heat into the room.
Back to basics
Keep the doors shut and the heating switched off in any rooms you don’t use regularly and consider putting on an extra jumper if you are cold, instead of automatically reaching for the thermostat dial. Hot drinks like tea, coffee and hot chocolate can be cheap to make and will help keep you warm. If you feel cold when going to sleep, take a hot water bottle into bed with you to take the edge of the chill and wear a pair of socks.
If you are a landlord, make sure you keep in touch with your tenant to make sure they are warm enough. Likewise, if you have a heat-related problem in your rented home, speak to your landlord or letting agent quickly, to enable them to fix it for you before it becomes a major concern. Take a look online for more advice, or contact your local council to see if there are any initiatives in your area designed to help keep in the heat, such as loft insulation schemes or free boiler checks.