Saturday, November 23, 2013

Heat saving ideas that won’t break the bank

saving ideas
It’s tough facing winter at a time when fuel bills just seem to keep on going up.  Some people try to grin and bear it but the cold can be very bad for the health, especially in young children, elderly people and those with mobility difficulties.  Although it’s widely known that insulation can help, many people hesitate to put it in place because of the money required to do so.  There are lots of little ways, however, that you can stay warm and save on heat whilst staying in the black.

Understanding heat loss

In a typical British home, 35% of heat loss takes place through the walls, 25% through the roof and 10% through the windows.  Floors and draughts account for the rest.  Of course, individual homes vary, but by considering these proportions it’s possible to work out what the most urgent problems are likely to be in any particular home.  Focusing on the biggest part of the problem means making more efficient choices when the budget won’t stretch to insulating everything.

Because the government and energy companies are also familiar with these problems, some grants exist to help with insulating roofs and windows.  Anyone who does decide to invest in insulation would be best advised to look into these first.

Insulating walls

Without investing in cavity wall insulation, there are still things that can be done.  Thick, insulating wallpapers can be used.  Tapestries or pieces of fabric can be hung (but make sure they’re fire-resistant first).  Bookcases can be placed against the walls and filled up with books, which basically does the equivalent of adding a six-inch thick insulating layer of wood to the wall.

Insulating roofs

This is one of the hardest things to do cheaply, but people who have lofts should either insulate them or use them for storage.  Simply filling up the loft with junk can stop a lot of heat from escaping.

Insulating windows

For those who can’t afford double-glazing, insulating plastic film can be bought cheaply to help stop heat getting out through the glass.  Thick, fully-lined curtains - even layered curtains - can make a big difference at night, and solid shutters are an excellent investment.

Floors and draughts

Bare wooden floors may look stylish but there’s a reason why they haven’t been used traditionally - they get very cold.  A much better idea is to use thick carpet (with proper underlay) and to add rugs for extra insulation.  Rag rugs can be made at home for pennies, whilst carpet offcuts can be purchased cheaply and cut into shapes of your choice.

Traditional draught excluders placed along the edge of doors can make a bigger difference than you might think.  Most draughts, however, get in through cracks and fissures, so it’s well worth going round the house hunting for these and sealing them up with putty or filler.

Finally, if it’s still a bit chilly, there are times when curling up in a blanket makes more sense than turning up the heat.  After all, it’s not just about saving money, it’s about saving the planet.

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