Winter has arrived in full swing, and so has the need to stay warm and toasty at home.
While cranking up the heating is a quick solution, it’s not a sustainable one – especially with rising power prices and gas emissions. Fortunately, there are several other things you can do to keep the cold out and seal in the warmth.
Here are our top tips for winter-proofing your home and making it more energy-efficient.
A widely popular means of regulating temperature, insulation acts as a barrier to heat flow. When done right, it can keep your home warm in winter and cool in summer, reducing your energy consumption. Here are some things to consider when insulating your home:
Use the right insulating material. The higher the R-value of your insulating material, the greater its thermal efficiency.
In most homes with an accessible roof space, ceiling insulation is reasonably easy to retrofit. If you’re unsure about your roof cavity access or are not comfortable with doing it yourself, seek out a specialist installer.
Try to insulate all walls of your home, especially the external and internal ones surrounding your main family rooms. These include lounges, TV rooms, and bedrooms. Insulating effectively reduces heat loss
For homes with bearer and joist type flooring, add underfloor insulation. This can be done with friction-fit batts between joists or thermal panels that seal the space between the floor and the bottom of the joists.
For windows, add heavy-weight curtains or blinds with insulating properties. Double-runner curtains are ideal. You can use a light gauze fabric in the front for the day and a heavy rear fabric to stay warm at night. If you prefer blinds, honeycomb blinds provide better insulation. The airspace inside them creates an additional insulating layer. Ideally, any sort of window coverings should be flush with the wall, not leave gaps.
Add floor coverings. Rugs and runners do wonders to reduce heat loss through floors.
Sealing gaps that let cold air creep into your house is a great way to maintain your home's temperature. Here are some tips on effectively sealing gaps found in different parts of your home:
Use draught stoppers to cover the gap at the base of internal doors.
Seal doorframes using self-adhesive draught excluder tape. This is especially useful in older homes where timber frames may have shrunk. You can do this on both internal and external doors.
Weather seals can be used to seal gaps at the foot of external doors
Check each room for any conspicuous gaps or cracks. Don’t miss areas like the top or bottom of skirting boards as the plaster behind them typically doesn’t fully seal with the floor. These gaps can generally be easily filled with a gap filler. Check architraves around doors and windows too.
Close thin gaps around a door or window frame using an exterior caulk or gap filler.
Close larger gaps by firstly filling with flexible foam gap filler rod. You can then apply caulking or suitable filler over the top.
Have a look around areas where any pipes or services run out through your walls or underfloor. These can often have gaps around them. Seal these up.
Draught-proof your windowsUse draught strip to seal window gaps
As with walls and doors, windows can be a major source of heat loss. Besides using thermal curtains, there are various other steps you can take to winter-proof your windows. These include:
Retrofitting window films. These films are designed to improve the thermal properties of your glass surfaces.
Using suitable draught excluder tape to seal gaps around windows.
Installing thicker glass or laminated glass for low heat transmission. Talk to your window supplier about the best options.
Installing double-glazed windows. These are extremely effective at cutting heat loss. The process involves using two glass sheets with an air gap in between to create an insulating layer.
Choose the right heater
Selecting the right type of heating and using it well is important. Consult a specialist to find the right products for your needs. The starting point is knowing your room size, including ceiling heights. Here are a few tips for selecting the right heaters:
Wood-fired enclosed heaters and combustion heaters are efficient at heating large spaces but they can overheat a space if they are over-stoked or used in smaller spaces.
Know how to fuel, stoke and balance your combustion heater. Combustion heaters should only be professionally installed.
Reverse cycle air-conditioning can be very efficient at warming rooms. However, it’s important that you have the swing actions and thermostat set to auto. to balance heating throughout the room and save energy once suitably warm.
Ceiling fans are excellent at keeping rooms warmer. Most will have a summer and winter switch on the side of the body. Flick over to winter and it pushes warm air back down.
When using a gas heater, ensure that there is fresh air flowing into the room to avoid the build-up of hazardous gases.