The cost of energy has reached record proportions and millions of households across the UK are struggling to stay on top of rising bills.

With all energy companies setting their prices to the maximum allowed under the energy price cap, there is nothing to be gained by switching from one supplier to another. 

One of the only ways for families to keep down the cost of their energy is by taking action to reduce the amount of gas and electricity needed to heat and power their lives. 

Here are six ideas for keeping a warm and cosy home that don’t cost a fortune and will also reduce your fuel bills.

Most of these items cost between £10 – £20 and are available from outlets like B&Q, Robert Dyas, Screwfix, Tool Station, etc.

1. Fit draught excluder strips around windows and doors

When fitted around draughty windows (that open) and doors, these low-cost, easy to attach items block the unwanted gaps which let cold air into your home and warm air out. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that this type of DIY draught-proofing could save around £20 a year if you live in a typical gas-heated, semi-detached house in England, Wales or Scotland.

There are two main types of draught-proofing strip:

  • Self-adhesive foam, which costs around £5 for ten metres
  • Metal or plastic strips with brushes or wipers attached which costs around £15 to draught-proof a door. You’ll need to use these strips for sliding sash windows as self-adhesive foam doesn’t work well with them.

If you have a draughty door, you should also consider adding a letter box flap or brush and a metal keyhole cover.

When adding draught excluders, be careful in areas that need good ventilation such as rooms with open fires or open flues and in kitchens, bathrooms and utility rooms where a lot of moisture is produced. To protect your health and avoid problems with damp it’s important to allow some fresh air to flow in and out of your home. Never block up any intentional ventilation such as extractor fans, airbricks, underfloor grilles, wall vents or trickle vents in windows.

6 ways to save energy in your home brighton and hove - draught excluder strips
Fixing self-adhesive foam strips to the edges of windows and doors can stop warm air escaping from a property and prevent cold draughts from coming in.

2. Make or buy a fabric draught excluder for your door.

If you have a draught coming under an external door (or an internal door which opens onto an unheated area of your house), one of the cheapest ways of blocking the draught is with a fabric draught excluder which simply sits along the bottom of the door.

You can buy a wide variety of styles from around £9 or, for an even cheaper option, why not make one out of spare fabric and stuff it with re-used plastic bags, packing materials, tights or pieces of foam? It’s the perfect upcycling project.

six-ways-save-energy-stay-warm-winter-brighton-hove-draught excluder
Stop heat escaping from your room by placing a draught excluder, full of wool or another insulating material, at the base of the door

3. Use a chimney balloon.

If your home has open fireplaces, you are probably losing heat up your chimney. A purpose designed, inflated chimney balloon sits inside your chimney, keeping warm air in and cold air out. They can be bought for around £18 and are easy to fit yourself. Just remember to remove them if you decide to light a fire.

6 ways to save energy in your home brighton and hove - chimney draught excluder
A chimney balloon will keep warm air from escaping out from your chimney, and can be easily removed if you ever do want to use your fireplace.

4. Fit heat reflector foil panels behind your radiators.

If you live in a property with solid, uninsulated walls, why not install heat reflector panels behind any radiators that are mounted on your external walls. The panels reflect heat back into your room, preventing it escaping to the outside. There’s no need to install panels on internal walls or walls dividing two properties as heat won’t move from one heated space to another. The panels cost around £3 to £4 per radiator (depending on size) and are easy to install yourself. Some don’t even have to be stuck to the wall, they simply hang from the brackets keeping your radiator in place.

5. Install secondary glazing

This involves fitting a second piece of glass or transparent material on the inside of the window surrounds (the bits that the window frame attaches to). It ranges in price from a cheap, temporary solution to a more expensive but very effective solution:

  • The cheapest option is to tape window glazing film to the window frame. This can cost just a few pounds per window and provides useful draught proofing during the winter. However, it has to be removed if you want to open the window and isn’t likely to last for more than one winter.
  • DIY secondary glazing kits using polycarbonate or acrylic sheets with magnetic or clip fit mounts can be bought for as little as £50 but, depending on the size of your window, may cost up to a few hundred pounds. They can make a big difference to how much heat escapes through your window and can be removed and replaced whenever required, allowing you to open the window and clean it more easily.
  • If your budget stretches to it, professionally installed, custom built secondary frames and glazing can offer even better performance than replacing your existing windows with new.

Don’t forget that using heavy, lined curtains will also cut down heat loss from your windows in the evening.

6. Switch to LED lightbulbs.

This won’t keep you any warmer, but it should significantly reduce your electricity bills and your carbon footprint. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that lighting accounts for 20% of the average household electricity bill and that switching from a 100W old style incandescent bulb could save up to £7 per bulb per year. You can find LED bulbs suitable for most light fittings. They cost around £2 for a standard fitting and can last for up to 10 years (or 10,000 to 50,000 hours) according to manufacturers.

Low energy LED lights use about 90% less electricity than traditional incandescent lightbulbs.

Request a free home energy survey from BHESCo

All of the measures described above are available for free to residents of Brighton and Hove who are on a low-income and meet one of the following:

If you would like to refer yourself or somebody else for a free home energy improvement visit then please contact BHESCo’s Energy Saving Team:

01273 284472