January is not the easiest of months. The partying and excesses of the festive season is over and for many it’s back to work. So it’s no surprise that January feels like the gloomiest month of the year. Add to that freezing weather, Christmas debts and the increase in bills, starting with utilities and groceries. Winter is always a challenging season for everyone, especially those trying to save. Here are some of our best tips for keeping your home warm whilst still keeping your winter bills affordable:
Roofs & Walls
According to the Energy Saving Trust, the most cost-effective method of reducing your heating bills is to fit loft and cavity wall insulation. An uninsulated house loses 25% of its heat through the roof. Insulating your loft, attic or flat roof is a simple and effective way to cut down on heat loss and reduce your heating bills. For a DIY approach head down to B&Q or Homebase. To get it done professionally would cost around £250, but there are various government initiatives to help you out.
Draughty windows are another big cause of heat loss. Double glazing will cut that in half and could even knock off £140 off your yearly bill. Replacing all your windows can be pretty pricey but you can cut the cost by keeping existing frames, as long as they are in good repair. If you are taking this route then use a registered installer.
If double glazing is not affordable to you now, the cheapest option is to use plastic film, fixed to your windows with tape and shrunk to fit with a hairdryer. You can DIY this option, with kits available from Homebase or Wickes. However, it’s only really effective if you cover the entire frame, not just the glass, thus makes opening windows awkward, and it’s intended for only one winter’s insulation.
Draught proofing is one of the cheapest and most efficient ways to save energy at home, and could save you £25-£50 per year, but it’s often overlooked. To draught-proof your home, you should seal any unwanted gaps that let cold air in and warm air out. This will help you keep your heating bill down and your home cosy. Use sealant to fill the gaps along the top and bottom of skirting boards along with any cracks between window frames and the surrounding walls. For your doors and letter boxes, draught-proofing strips work well or try buying special brushes that fit between your door and the floor.
If you don’t already have one, think about installing an A-rated energy-efficient condensing boiler. They’re a great investment as they can save you money on your energy bills, reduce your carbon emissions and keep your home warm and comfortable. However, you need to decide which boiler would be right for you. Consider fuel type, boiler type and hot water usage before you make your decision. If you decide not to change boilers then set your thermostat to come on earlier for colder days. Switch it off at least an hour before you go to bed, and if all you’re doing is sitting on the sofa for an evening, then turn it off earlier and get cosy under a blanket.