It's important to keep your roof well-insulated, especially during winter. The Energy Saving Trust (EST) warns that a quarter of heat is lost through the roof in an uninsulated home.
Getting loft insulation will not only keep more heat in your home, it will also bring down your energy bill. By opting for the recommended 27cm amount of loft insulation in your home, the EST estimates you could save...
- £225 on your energy bill, per yer, in a detached house.
- £135 on your energy bill, per year, in a semi-detached house.
- £120 on your energy bill, per year, in a mid-terrace house.
Get a carbon monoxide alarm
Household appliances like fires, cookers, heaters and boilers that have been poorly installed or not well maintained could easily cause carbon monoxide leaks. Since 1 October 2015, it has been a legal requirement for private landlords to have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted and tested regularly, but even if you're not a landlord, it's worth getting one.
You can buy a CO alarm for around £15 from most DIY shops and larger supermarkets. It should be marked 'EN 50291' to show it adheres to the latest safety standards and bear the British Standards Kitemark.
You should also always make sure appliances are regularly serviced by registered engineers.
Insulate hot water pipes
A burst hot water pipe can be a disaster, and winter months are when you're most at risk.
Insulate your hot water pipes by using lagging, which you can get inexpensively from a DIY shop, to save you from a burst pipe.
Wrap up your hot water tank
This is another effective way to cut heat loss. You can purchase a British Standard Jacket for your hot water cylinder for under £20.
The EST advises that opting for water tank insulation that is 25mm to 80mm thick could save you around £20 a year, which is more than the cost of the jacket!
Get a smart meter
Smart meters help you to be more in the know about your heating, and how much it's costing you to heat your home. They'll show you how much energy you're using, in real time, and how much gas and electricity you're using in pounds and pence.
The gadget that comes with your smart meter may encourage you to use gas or electricity more sparingly in your home as you’ll be able to work out which devices guzzle the most energy. But it’s up to you to use them more efficiently to reap the financial benefits.
Clear the gutters
There's only one thing the gutter is meant for, and that's getting rainwater off the roof and down the drain. If it's blocked, it won't be able to do this.
You'll be able to tell if you've got an issue if rainwater goes down the side of the house, or if there's any discoloration on your walls. These blockages are frequently the result of fallen leaves, moss, or twigs from a bird's nest. Water can cause damp and mould, so it's essential to make sure rainfall can be effectively drained from your home.
If you have the time and knowledge to clear your own gutters, do it yourself rather than asking a professional. Research from Insulation Express found learning how to clean gutters yourself could make you a financial saving of £150 every time!
Bleed your radiators
Bleeding radiators regularly will help keep your home warm. Air can get into the system and prevent it from being filled with water. Bleeding the radiator releases the trapped air.
Check that there's still warm water in the system and then turn off the central heating. Locate the bleed valve on the radiator – it's a small valve on the side of the radiator, near the top. You'll need a bleed key to turn it, which you can buy from any DIY store. Turn it 180º anti-clockwise to expel any air trapped in the system, which will then fill with water. When all the air has been expelled, it'll start to drip water and you can close the valve.
Check that your boiler is in good condition
Looking after your boiler is essential, especially during the winter months. Should it fail and need to be replaced, this can cost up to £1,430, according to the Boiler Guide.
Before winter fully arrives, make sure yours is working properly. The older it is, the more inefficient it'll be. This is because boilers lose pressure over time. Check the pressure gauge on the boiler – the instruction manual will explain how to do this, and how to adjust the pressure if needed. For other problems, ask your plumber or arrange for a professional to fix the boiler. You can check the Gas Safe Register to find a qualified engineer in your area.
Use heavier curtains
Around 40% of the heat escaping from your home is from uncovered windows.
You can stop this by using heavier, lined curtains in winter to properly insulate windows and limit where hot air can get out. This will also block the breeze from getting in
Make sure heat isn't escaping through the chimney
A big cause of lost heat is an unused fireplace.
If you have a chimney you don't use but you don't want to board it up, you can use a chimney balloon. One of these should cost under £30 – they're easy to inflate and will last for years. We recommend Chimney Sheep. We found it kept cold air out effectively and is fire resistant, so it's not a total disaster if you accidentally leave it in place when setting a fire.