Nobody wants to be faced with a huge utilities bill during the autumn and winter months. Spending money on a new boiler, loft insulation or a more efficient heating system may be out of the reach of many but there’s lots of ways to decrease the monthly payment without having to empty the bank account.
Placing sheets of heat reflective aluminium foil behind fixed wall radiators helps to push the warmth back into the room rather than it being lost into the room. Commercially available sheets of foil specifically for the job are available but good quality tin foil works just as well and costs much less.
One of the best ways overall to stop heat loss is to use thick curtains at the windows. Thermal lined ones are the best option. If you don’t have the money to replace the curtains altogether, buy a fleece blanket similar in size to the curtain and safety pin it to the top edge. You’ll not notice the pins in the folds and they can quickly be removed to become lightweight for summer use. Black is the best colour lining to choose. Door curtains are also very effective; a cheap rug can be placed over hooks above the door to create an instant barrier.
DIY draught excluders
The ‘sausage dog’ draught excluders certainly did the trick of stopping wind howling under the door even though they seemed to fall out of fashion a decade or so ago. Be vintage and retro in your home design and re-introduce them. You can use an old towel to create the excluder; sew into a long cylinder and stuff with cut up scraps of material or clothing which has seen better days for a free and effective insulator.
Be clever with radiators
Placing furniture such as sofas in front of radiators will mean the heat can’t disperse into the rest of the room. Spend an afternoon rearranging everything and feel the temperature rise.
One exception to this rule is that if you place a wall shelf directly above the radiator this will channel the heat forwards rather than rising up too high. It’s especially useful in homes with high or vaulted ceilings. It’s also an excellent idea if there’s a radiator underneath a window as it stops the heat going up and through the glass.
Eliminate mini draughts
There are a number of places around the home which create mini draughts. You may not even have considered them an issue as they are just a small opening but even the letter box can mean your utility bill is higher. Install a ‘brush’ system to the top and bottom and it will act as a barrier every time a takeaway menu is pushed through the door. Cat and dog flaps should have a piece of blanket attached over them and even covering keyholes on external doors will mean you aren’t paying to heat the world outside your four walls. These are often the cause of mystery icy blasts in the home and are easy to remedy.
Quick and inexpensive jobs will soon mean you’ll see a reduction in your quarterly gas and electric bill. Because you’ll not need to create as much heat, you can also congratulate yourself on helping the planet as you’re also reducing your carbon footprint every time you turn down the thermostat or reduce the amount of time the heating is switched on; a win-win situation all round.