It looks like we’re all going to be spending much more time at home this winter, and many of us are feeling the pinch financially too.
As keeping warm is important for our mental and physical health, here are six ideas for keeping cosy that don’t cost a fortune and will also reduce your fuel bills:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ask about a free home energy saving survey
Throughout 2021 BHESCo are offering households in Brighton and Hove the opportunity to have a free energy improvement survey of your home*.
We can install any of the energy saving measures detailed on this page, in addition to helping you to switch to a cheaper energy tariff and to apply for any further financial support to which you may be eligible.
Please provide us with your contact details and someone from our Energy Saving Team will get in touch to see how best we are able to help you:
*eligible households must be in receipt of passporting benefits such as Universal Credit, Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit, or are in receipt of a state pension.