Baby it’s cold outside… and inside too. If you own a Victorian house, you might find it difficult to keep warm in the winter months. Thankfully, there are a number of cheap heating hacks you can try to make your Victorian house warmer this winter without having to burn through money.
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1. Reduce drafts in your home
Many Victorian homes, especially those with original features such as single-glazed sash windows and hardwood floorboards, are very drafty. In winter, this can mean your home has a dreadful chill, so the best heating hacks are around draft-proofing your property as best you can.
It is estimated that up to 40% of your home’s heat is lost through doors, windows and the floor so these are clearly the first areas you need to take a look at when thinking about heating hacks.
There are a number of ways you can do this. This includes adding:
- Draft excluders at exterior doors
- Draft-excluding covers for openings such as letterboxes and keyholes
- Heavier curtains at windows
- Full-length curtains at exterior doors
Around 35% of heat loss is through the walls and 25% is lost through the roof, so consider loft and cavity wall insulation too. This generally doesn’t come cheap but it will soon pay for itself and you may even qualify for a grant to help cover the cost of the work and materials.
2. Add bubble wrap to windows
If there is a particularly cold snap and your single-glazed windows are very drafty, a quick and cheap fix is to cover the inside of them with bubble wrap – though it may clash with your Christmas decorations! It does work, but is only suggested as a short-term fix.
3. Apply sealant to gappy floorboards
Victorian homes weren’t built with central heating, so when it is added wooden floorboards often begin to shrink and can become gappy. If gappy floorboards are a problem in your home, you can apply silicone sealant to help stop heat from escaping. Using thicker underlay below the carpet is also effective in insulating floorboards.
4. Keep windows and doors closed
Simple good housekeeping can be one of the best and cheapest heating hacks. Make sure all windows are shut firmly and close the doors to rooms you are not using. This will cut down on drafts and help keep the warmth in.
5. Make sure furniture doesn’t block vents or radiators
In the rooms that you do use, make sure the sofa or your favorite recliner doesn’t block a vent or sit right in front of the radiator. It may feel nice when you’re sitting there, but it’s also preventing heat from circulating through the rest of the house. You’ll probably have to move furniture when it’s time to set up the Christmas tree anyway, so when you do, make sure furniture doesn’t obstruct air flow.
6. Put foil behind radiators
If you have central heating, regular servicing will increase its efficiency, but you can try other heating hacks too. Silver foil placed down the back of a radiator will reflect heat back into a room rather than letting it escape through the walls. Kitchen foil can be wrapped around pieces of cardboard that have been cut to size to make it easier to fit.
Specialist radiator foil – which is stuck on with strong wallpaper paste – is available for around £7 a roll from B&Q and builders’ merchants such as Screw Fix.
7. Consider putting your heating on low
In many homes, it will prove cheaper to leave your central heating on low permanently rather than turning it up high when you are cold and then turning it down or off when you are too hot. This stops your boiler working too hard and burning excessive fuel — think of the alternative as accelerating hard and then braking hard in your car. It’s far more comfortable and cost effective to drive in a smoother manner, and the same goes for your central heating too!
Remember, you should leave your heating on low if you are going away for a few days too as it will prevent pipes from freezing.
8. Turn on your fire or start baking
You can get an awful lot of heat from an open fire or wood burner, so it might be time to think about lighting yours. Before you do, you need to make sure the chimney is clear, it is safe to light and you are using the right fuel. You can learn how to keep your Victorian fireplace safe, clean and efficient here.
Another great source of heat is the oven in your kitchen. Get baking, boiling and roasting and the heat will permeate the whole home, much as the aroma of the food you are creating. When you’ve finished, one of the best heating hacks is to leave the oven door ajar — as long as there are no small children or inquisitive pets in the house — and enjoy that residual heat.
If all else fails, boil the kettle and carefully fill a hot water bottle or stick on an extra jumper.
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