However energy efficient you think your home is, the sad truth is that your house will continuously lose heat whenever it is warmer inside than it is outside.
And it sure is getting cold outside…
Heat is lost in a variety of ways: 35 per cent of heat from the home is lost through walls, 25 per cent through the roof, 15 per cent through windows and 15 per cent through floors. A further 10 per cent is lost through doors and door furniture, such as keyholes and letterboxes.
As the cold winds of winter approach, it’s time to take a long, hard look at your home to find out precisely where you need to work harder to trap the heat and keep your family cosy.
To supplement our interactive energy-saving home guide, here are 10 ways your house may be losing heat, and how to stop it:
- Your loft might benefit from insulation, but if you’ve got a loose or missing roof tile, all that good work and hard-spent cash may be going to waste – wet insulation loses its efficiency. Equally, if your loft is insulated but you still have the same old timber loft hatch, check that it’s insulated with the same tape that you can use on windows and doors.
- Bare floorboards may be the height of design must-haves, but they’re a heat leach in winter when they can account for up to 10 per cent of heat loss if they’re not insulated. If you can’t ‘bare’ to cover your boards with carpet, try large rugs or even blankets. Consider wood filler for large gaps between boards although ensure you use one which contracts and expands alongside your wood throughout the seasons.
- Keep your guest room door closed: It prevents cold air from an unheated room circulating around the house and means you can contain the heat you’ve generated in one area.
- Stop heat blocking: The sofa might look great in front of the radiator, but it’s absorbing a huge percentage of the heat – keep radiators clear and if possible, don’t have curtains that fall in front of the radiator, either.
- Most ardent heat conservers know that draught excluders are a great idea – but how many of us have checked whether a draught is coming through our letterbox or keyhole? And if you need a cat flap for pets, consider a curtain on the inside of the door to cut down on draughts (the cat may have a shock the first time it bolts for the cat flap, but it will soon get used to it!).
- Lots of homeowners keep their open fireplaces for aesthetic rather than practical purposes, but if your fireplace isn’t being used in the winter, consider buying a chimney balloon which is made of a special kind of plastic which expands to fit the cavity and keeps hot air inside your home and cold air out. Just don’t forget it’s there if you suddenly have the urge to have a roaring fire!
- One free way to keep heat inside your home is to harness the power of the sun. Even in the winter, there’s often plenty of sunlight which generates enough heat to take the chill out of the air. Make sure your blinds and curtains are open until dusk and then close them to retain the heat you’ve captured.
- It may seem unlikely, but covering a wall with pictures and mirrors actually helps to conserve more heat. Ditching the minimalist look means you’re adding an extra layer of insulating air in your room, raising internal surface temperatures by around a degree and cutting lost energy by a quarter. If you have wall hangings – such as Indian bedspreads or thin rugs – the efficiency is even greater.
- On a similar note, bookshelves are also fantastic insulators. An electronic e-reader may take up less room, but it won’t keep you warm at night!
- Harness all the heat you can by being savvy: if you have a shower or run a bath, leave the bathroom door open and allow the stream to travel through the house and the next time you bake a cake, after you’ve turned off the oven, leave the oven door open (unless you have small children or mad pets) and the heat from your baking will diffuse through the house. It’ll smell delicious, too – as long as you aren’t a baker of burnt offerings…