14 cheap & easy ways to keep your house warm during winter

In a time of ever-increasing energy bills, we thought an article on how to cheaply keep your home warm would be a welcome read as we move into the new year. Some of these tips are obscure and some are common sense, but even if just one of these recommendations is useful to you, we’ll consider it ‘job done.’ 1. Central Heating Timers - If you’ve got them, they are your friend so make use of them. if you work a 9-5 job, set the heating to come on an hour before you get up and to switch off just after you’ve gone. Time the heating to come on an hour before you get home, then to go off whenever you want in the evening. No need to have it on all day, just a clever bit of planning to make sure the house is warm when you are at home. 2. DIY Loft Insulation - You don’t have to spend much, but the results of insulating your loft can be hugely beneficial. Buying three rolls of insulation which is 8 inches deep is not expensive, but can make all the difference. Recycled paper, mineral wool and glass fibre rolls will all work well. 3. Loft Hatch Insulation - If you’re going to the effort of insulating your loft, then don’t forget to do your loft hatch too. This is an easy fix, but is often overlooked and can potentially lose a lot of heat if not addressed. Self-adhesive foam strips are very cheap to buy, but can really have an impact on blocking the gaps around your loft hatch. 4. Cover Up Bare Floorboards - Yes, wooden floors can look incredibly stylish, but in the UK they can also be a massive factor in your home’s heat loss. Throwing down rugs, carpet or even blankets are an easy way to keep in the heat during particularly cold snaps. If you are insistent on keeping your boards on show, then investing in a good silicone-based filler to plug any gaps would be a sensible option. 5. Close Doors Of Unused Rooms - If you have a room or two that very rarely gets used, then keep the door to them closed. There’s no point leaving the door open and heating up a room you’re not using. 6. Homemade Draught Excluders - Bring back the sausage dog! Remember these from when you were young? Basically a chunky, material ‘sausage’ with a face on it that sat across the gap at the bottom of your exterior doors. These are very cheap to buy or you can even make your own. Use a pair of tights and stuck some old socks and pants in it. No need to complicate matters, these do the job of keeping out draughts very well! 7. Block up Mini-Draughts - Cat-flaps, keyholes, letterboxes are all small but important areas that have the potential to make a room feel cold. Get a furry letterbox with a big flap on the back, get some circular keyhole covers and why not fix a small blanket to hang down over your catflap? It won’t prevent your cat from coming in and out, but will drop back into place and cover up any gaps. 8. Use Radiator Refective Foil - This should be a must for any radiators that are attached to external walls. Stick some radiator reflective foil, which isn’t expensive, behind each radiator so much of the heat is reflected back into the room, rather than being lost to the outside. 9. Unblock Your Radiators - Depending on space and the layout of your rooms, try and avoid putting large pieces of furniture in front of radiators, as this blocks vital heat from coming into the room. If you have to have something in front of a rad, at least move the piece of furniture forward a few inches away from the radiator. This will give the hot air more chance to circulate around the room. 10. A Shelf Above A Rad - Where space allows, why not put a shelf above your radiator? This is a particularly useful tip if you have high ceilings. Heat from a radiator often goes straight up, but have a shelf above it will help deflect the heat back into the room. 11. Chimney Balloons - If you have a decorative fireplace that you don’t use, then this could be a huge area where you lose heat. Get yourself a chimney balloon and inflate it up your chimney. They usually sit just out of sight, but perform a vital role in keeping hot air from escaping. 12. Put Up Thick Curtains - The thicker the curtains, the better and you can even get some with a thermal lining that are quite cheap. Don’t just think about curtains for windows either. Putting them up behind external doors is also a great way to stop heat escaping. You don’t even have to buy curtains - the same effect will be achieved by hanging up a rug or a blanket. 13. Open Curtains During Daylight - Get those thick curtains open during daylight hours in order to take advantage of the natural heat and light provided by the sun. As well as for heating reasons, it’s also important for health reasons to be exposed to natural light during the winter. Once the sun goes down, get those curtains closed again. 14. Fake Double Glazing - For single glazed windows, you can actually buy a special insulating film that you can fit across your windows. It’s not expensive and can make an important difference in your battle with hot air escaping and the film is also pretty easy to install. The slight negative is that you can’t open your windows without breaking the seal, but if you don’t plan on opening your windows in the winter, or you have many small windows that never get opened, this could be a very useful and cost-effective option. Article by Benjamin Clarke
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