Why wait until autumn to start draught-proofing your home? Think about it, by the time you actually start feeling the cold, you’ve already wasted money, gas or home heating oil. So have a look through these good old-fashioned ideas for creating a warm welcome and get busy before the nights draw in!
Use tin foil behind the radiators
This is especially effective with radiators that are placed against external walls as it reflects heat back into the room rather than letting it escape. You can buy special foil for this, or just use good, sturdy cooking foil.
Set time limits
Put your heating on a timer. Set it to go off around 20-30 minutes before your bedtime and if you know it’s going to be cold, set it to come on earlier, rather than at the usual time but higher. This conserves your gas, coal, oil or electricity and so therefore your money.
Use thick curtains
One of the best tools against heat loss from windows and doors is thick curtains. You can save money by lining curtains you already have with another layer of fabric, or even fleece. Don’t forget your doors here – they let as much heat out as windows!
Let the sunshine in
When the sun is actually shining, open your curtains and let the sun heat your rooms up. As soon as it’s dusk, close your curtains to keep the warmth in.
Block your chimney
If your fireplace is merely decorative, block up your chimney with a special balloon. Lots of heat escapes up your chimney, so stop it in its tracks. Just don’t forget to remove the balloon if you do decide to light a fire!
Don’t forget about the little gaps
Letterboxes and keyholes might seem insignificant, but everything adds up – use a draught-excluding brush in your letterbox to keep the wind out and cover your keyhole with a flap. If you have a catflap, see if you can’t use draught-excluder tape around the edges, too.
Use a draught excluder
Your gran will have had one – shaped like a snake or a sausage dog, no doubt. You may have thought it was a plaything but your old granny will have known what she was doing! Buy one or make one – the choice is yours, but you’ll find it very effective.
Close unused rooms up
This prevents heat from the inhabited parts of the house from escaping into unused (and hopefully unheated!) areas.
Cover bare floorboards up
Uninsulated floorboards cause around 10% of your heat loss, so get a rug, or even a blanket just for the winter months. If you have particularly big gaps, or gappy skirting boards, think about a silicon filler to stop the wind whistling through.
Don’t forget your loft
This effort is pointless if your warm air escapes through the roof! Make sure your loft hatch is well-sealed – draught-excluder tape comes into play again here! Also, check for and replace any loose roof tiles as you don’t want your work undone.