It’s that time of year when we start to crank up the heating. With the cost of energy bills a big concern for UK households, there are lots of simple things you can do to keep cosy and reduce your fuel bills. Here are some top tips from NHBC, the leading standard-setting body and warranty provider for new homes, to help you save on your winter bills.
- Reduce draughts – an important job as winter approaches is to make sure that your house does not have any unintended draughts. Floorboards and skirtings usually go ignored but cold air can easily filter through, so check for gaps and fill them in. Check to see if your letterbox is draughty, which can lead to cold hallways – installing a letter box draught excluder that fits onto the inside of your front door is an inexpensive easy DIY job. Remember that openings for ventilation should not be blocked.
- Bleed your radiators – trapped air or gas prevents hot water from heating your radiators fully, so if you have a radiator that is warm at the bottom but cool at the top, this could mean there is air in the system, which may require bleeding to ensure maximum efficiency of the heating system.
- Thick curtains – can help to protect your home from losing heat through windows. It’s important to try to get as much sunlight into your home during the day as possible. But as soon as dusk falls, remember to close curtains to reduce the need for additional heating.
- Keep radiators free – A common mistake we often make is to place our sofas in front of the radiators which can absorb the heat!
- Cavity wall insulation – Around a third of all the heat lost in an uninsulated home escapes through walls. So if you live in an older property, considering thermal insulation of cavity walls could save you some money.
- Loft insulation – insulating your loft is a simple, inexpensive and effective way to reduce energy waste and lower your heating bills. All new houses are fitted with loft insulation that meets the latest building regulations, but if you are in an older property you may want to think about a top-up.
- Loft hatches – energy loss through the loft hatch is often overlooked. Insulating the hatch and ensuring that an effective draught seal is in place will help to keep heat energy in and your home warm.
- Windows – energy-efficient glazing keeps your home warmer, allowing less heat to be lost. Double-glazing is fitted as standard to new-build homes, but if your house is older, replacing windows could be a good investment as they help to keep warmth in, and reduce external noise.
- Service your heating system – all central heating boilers should be serviced and safety checked at least once a year by a Gas Safe Registered engineer. If your boiler is old, then consider an upgrade. According to the Energy Saving Trust, a new A-rated condensing boiler can save up to £340 a year on heating bills – most new homes have this type of boiler.
- Room temperature controls – your thermostat should typically be set between 18°C and 21°C, but by installing thermostatic radiator valves you can set different temperatures in different rooms, according to individual preference. These will be standard in new homes, but are easily fitted to existing radiators.
Neil Smith, Head of Research at NHBC, said: “For many homeowners, the biggest burden on their winter finances is the cost of keeping their home warm. We believe it’s not only important for homeowners to invest in their older properties, but for good information and advice to be made available to assist consumers on helpful choices that could save money on utility bills.
“People living in houses built in the last ten years will typically have lower energy bills as they are built to comply with the latest Government regulations on energy efficiency – but people in all types of properties can make small adjustments to achieve a warmer home for less this winter.”
For more information and to download a handy checklist, please visit: www.nhbc.co.uk