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With concerns over increasing energy prices, it’s more important than ever to consider alternative ways of heating your home. It’s not always necessary to revert to expensive solutions such as installing double glazing or overhauling your entire heating system. The following tips are not only a way of saving money but are easy and economical.

One way to prevent heat loss from radiators is to place tin foil behind radiators fixed to external walls. This will prevent heat escaping through the wall and reflect heat back into the room. There is specially designed foil available but a good quality kitchen foil is just as effective.

Windows are one of the main causes of heat loss. By investing in thick curtains you can reduce heat escaping through windows or even doors. Whether you use thick curtains, curtains with a thermal lining or even a rug or throw, you will be surprised at how much warmth you can achieve. However during the day, ensure your curtains are open to let natural sunlight in. Particularly on sunny days, allowing sunlight into your home is a free source of heating during the day.

Draught excluders around windows and doors are a brilliant and easy way to reduce draughts and heat escaping. You can purchase relatively inexpensive ones that can be fixed or why not make your own, or even roll up a blanket and lay it across the bottom of the door.

If you have a chimney with an open fire, you can purchase chimney balloons which prevent draughts or heat escaping when the fire is not in use, particularly in the summer months. Also look at other areas of your home that may be susceptible to draughts – letterboxes or keyholes and even cat flaps. It’s surprising how much heat is lost through even the smallest of gaps and cracks.

Ensure furniture is not obstructing radiators, as things like sofa’s will absorb any heat coming from your radiator. If you have radiators directly below windows, heat will often rise and become trapped between the curtain and window meaning that most of the heat escapes. You can easily avoid this by placing a shelf above the radiator, directing the heat into the room.

Make sure doors are closed, so cold air does not circulate round your home. However if you need to heat a room that doesn’t have a radiator, opening the door between rooms can help the heat through. However only do this if it is necessary as it can take a lot longer to heat a larger space.

Ensure floorboards are well covered as bare flooring can account for up to 10% of heat loss throughout a home. If you haven’t got carpet, a rug or even a throw can make a significant difference. A large amount of heat is also lost through ceilings and the roof. You can purchase rolls of foam insulation that can be fitted without needing a professional, saving you even more money.

Also check things like your loft-hatch and roof tiles as this could also be a source of heat loss. If you are on benefits or a low income, you may be entitled to help through government schemes to cover things such as boilers and insulation. Contact your local citizen’s advice to find out what you may be entitled to.

by Cormac Henderson

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