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10 cheap and easy ways to make your home warmer this winter

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 November 2013 at 4:08 pm

The start of this winter's first cold snap really contentrates the mind on ways to keep warm. While you can just turn the heating on for longer, or turn the thermostat up, that's a very expensive way of managing the problem. Luckily, there are other ways of improving the energy efficiency of your home that you can do yourself.

1. Put a jumper on - and maybe a thermal vest. Hopefully, as I'm not a politician, I won't be slated for saying this. I know, it's obvious, but it makes sense (and there are some really smart long jumpers with roll-necks in the shops in this winter!).

2. Draughts are a big cause of discomfort. Luckily it's quite easy to seal some of them up. There are all sorts of draught exclusion products* available in DIY shops and online, or you can seal quite a lot of them with a mastic gun. Places to focus on include around windows and doors, between floors and walls, and between floorboards. Also watch out for gaps around pipes and cables as they come through walls and floors. You can make or buy a sausage dog draught excluder for under-door draughts. An Eco flap* on your letter box will keep the wind out.

3. Make sure you've got warm enough bedding, so that you don't need to put the heating on overnight. Use a hot water bottle to heat the bed before you get in it.

4. Install radiator reflectors* behind all radiators that are hanging on outside walls (you can also use silver foil). This will reflect the heat back into the room.

5. Close all the curtains as soon as it gets dark. Make sure that curtains don't cover any radiators, or they will prevent the heat from getting into the room.

6. Lining your curtains with thick, draught excluding material is another good way to keep the heat in. You may find that a heavy curtain over your front door helps too, if it isn't sealed well.

7. Chimney are designed to creat a draught, so if you don't use it for fires make sure that it is blocked off. You can buy a chimney balloon cheaply*. Alternatively, I've heard of people using an old beach ball and the Centre for Sustainable Energy suggests stuffing a plastic bag with more plastic bags.

8. Once you've sorted out the draughts, you may be able to turn down the thermostat a degree or two.

9. Use the individual radiator thermostats to reduce the heat in rooms that you aren't using. Make sure the doors are closed, so the colder air doesn't seep out into the rooms you're using.

10. Make sure that you've had your boiler serviced. This has the potential to knock up to 6% off your gas or oil bill. Also, bleed the air out of the radiators to make sure that they are heating up properly.

For more information see the YouGen guide to energy saving.

*These are affiliate links which means that if you click them and buy, we will get a small commission. This helps pay the running costs of the YouGen website.

Image: Swanky Mansion

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