Stay cosy inside when the temperature drops outside. The best way to heat a house is to insulate effectively and make sure everything’s running efficiently. Try these fabulous fixes – all of which you can do yourself
1 Insulate with shutters
Lovely old windows look the part, but they might be letting you down when it comes to staying toasty. For a warm house, swap to shutters and you could reduce your heating bills and shed a woolly jumper when you’re inside. Who says? Edinburgh World Heritage conducted a thermal imaging test that showed that when shutters are closed at dusk, heat leakage through large Victorian and Georgian windows was effectively stopped.
Of course, shutters suit these beautiful windows to a tee, will make your pad the envy of the neighbours and (we may have mentioned before) are easy to measure and fit yourself. And when we say easy… if you can fit a shelf, you can fit our shutters.
Worried that shutters won’t stand up to life in a steamy bathroom or busy kitchen but feeling the chill in those rooms? Choose our waterproof ABS shutters for areas where the window is likely to get wet and you won’t need to worry. They’re up to the job and a DIY insulation solution, too.
2 Draught-strip windows
While we’re talking windows, it’s also worth fixing any gaps around them with draught stripping. Find it in DIY stores and select from foam strips or, for a little more money, designs with wipers or brushes.
3 … and doors
Just like windows, exterior doors can let cold air in around the frame if they don’t fit snugly. Draught strips are the answer here, too. We’re not quite finished yet, though, as there are other ways that heat can leak out of doors: think letter boxes, keyholes and at the base of the door. There’s a purpose-made draught stopper for each of these situations, so make sure doors are dressed for the weather from top to toe.
4 Put a jacket on a water cylinder
Hot water stored in a cylinder in your home? Check that the jacket that sits around it is at least 75mm thick. If you need a new version, or the cylinder’s been going without, look for a British Standard design, and rejoice in the fact that the annual saving is more than the cost of the jacket, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
5 Lag pipes
Pipes that run between a hot water cylinder and the boiler and are exposed are another target for money and heat-saving DIY measures. Slip specially designed sleeves around the pipes and they’ll help keep water at the right temperature for a longer time.
6 Bleed radiators
Check out the temperature at the top of each radiator to see if they’re in need of a little TLC. Cold there and warm below? Use a radiator key to bleed the offending rad – in other words, release the trapped air that’s stopping it from heating up properly. If you don’t have a key, visit your local DIY store for one and remember that the heating and hot water need to be off when you do this job. Put a cloth underneath the screw as you turn the key to catch any water, too.
7 Look to the loft
We know you’re practical people, so taking on the job of insulating the loft won’t cause you trouble. Even if it’s already insulated, topping up mineral wool loft insulation to a depth of 270mm – the recommended level – will stop heat escaping from the top of your home and save you money in the long term.
8 Back radiators
Boost the power of radiators hung on external walls with designed-for-the-job panels. They aren’t expensive and they’ll reflect heat back into the room – where you want it – rather than letting it out through the wall, especially if we’re talking solid walls and cavity walls that don’t have insulation.
9 Sort out the floor
Take a look at the boards if you have a wooden floor. If there are gaps between them, they’re going to ruin the mood when you’ve settled in for a night in front of a box set. A flexible filler’s required here because wood will naturally expand and contract, so visit your local DIY shed to shop.
10 Check out pipe exit routes
Where pipes leave your home gaps around them can let heat out, so inspect for trouble. The remedy depends on the size of the problem with silicone filler working on minor gaps and expanding foam filler sorting out the larger ones.