Heat your home efficiently with these 10 useful tips

heat your home efficiently

Energy bills are now going to be £2,500 on average for the next two years. But don’t panic – we have 10 tips you can put into action now to save on your fuel usage.

Heat your home efficiently with our ten pieces of advice. And do make sure you put them into practice: Google Trends has revealed that searches for ‘energy savings’ are at a 12-month high. Searches have soared by 117% this week as people look for help with heating their homes to save money on their energy bill. Searches for ‘how to keep house warm’ and ‘keep house warm’ also skyrocketed this week by 300% and 222%, respectively.

Experts at Bed Kingdom have shared cost-effective ways to keep your home warm without using energy – or by using less energy – this winter. Using these tips could save over double the heat loss in your home without spending a penny more on your energy bills. Now is a great time to act to prepare for the looming colder months. All figures are average estimates.

heat your home efficiently
Energy bills are soaring, but here are ten ways to combat the rises. Photography: iStock.

How to heat your home efficiently

Add loft insulation

Firstly: heat your home efficiently with loft insulation. It’s a space that’s often overlooked, but uninsulated lofts can lose 25% of your home’s heat through the roof. Go into your loft space and check how thick the insulation is. Recommended blanket-style insulation is between 250mm and 270mm depth.  The type of roof your home has will play a part in how difficult it is to insulate. Pitched roofs are easiest, while flat and dormer roofs are more difficult to insulate.

Typical professional installation cost (detached house): £680

Average DIY cost: From £5-11 per m2 roll

Typical energy savings per year (detached house): £580

a loft with insulation
Loft insulation helps you heat your home efficiently. Photography: iStock.

How to heat your home efficiently

Insulate windows and reduce heat loss

Secondly: older houses especially tend to have draughty windows. In order to find draughts and air leaks, light a candle and walk through your home, going along the walls where any draughts may be entering your home. Once the candle begins to flicker, you have likely found a draught in your home. 

To keep the heat from escaping, use a window insulator which you can get from any hardware shop. Properly insulating your home by sealing air leaks can save up to 20% on your energy bill.

A cheap alternative to a window insulation kit is to use bubble wrap on your windows. Simply cut the wrap according to the size of your windows and mist using water from a spray bottle. The water helps the bubble wrap to stick on windows. The bubble wrap can be easily removed without any damage or residue to scrub off. This can reduce heat loss up to 50% on single-pane and 20% on double-pane windows, allowing you to heat your home efficiently.

Window insulation kit average price: £3.99

heat your home efficiently
Insulating your windows is also cheap and effective. Photography: iStock.

How to heat your home efficiently

Use thermal curtains and let the sunlight in

Thirdly: thermal curtains work by trapping the cold air between your window and curtain, therefore preventing heat loss by blocking drafts from entering the home and improving energy efficiency. This reduces heat loss by up to 25% and helps you heat your home efficiently. But curtains must be closed to stay effective.

When it’s sunny, open your curtains to let sunlight in the house and warm up your room for free. But close the curtains as the sun goes away to retain the heat. Researchers from the University of Salford say that drawing your curtains at sunset can reduce heat loss by around 15-17%. 

Thermal curtains: from £10

a living room with curtains
It’ll be curtains for your energy bills when you install thermal curtains. Photography: iStock.

How to heat your home efficiently

Draught-proof doors and reduce heat loss up to 25%

External doors

Fourthly, your external doors can be leading causes of heat loss. Around 25% of the home’s heat escapes through cracks and gaps in the walls, windows and doors due to draughts. The most common causes of draught is from letter boxes, pet doors, the door frame and the bottom of your door. If you can’t invest in a new door, consider using a combination of covers and draught sealing materials to prevent heat loss. You can use draught excluding tape to seal the cracks and air leaks between your windows and doors for a cost-effective way to draught-proof your home.

Internal doors

You can use old towels or blankets to exclude drafts by rolling them up and placing them at the base of your door. You can also make a DIY draught stopper using items found around the house. Take two tubes (i.e. from Christmas wrapping paper) and an old pair of tights. Cut one leg off the tights and feed both tubes into the leg. Feed one tube outside and the other inside the door, which will exclude draughts from your room for free or at a low cost.

Letter box seal: £5

Weatherstripping: £3

Keyhole cover: From £2

heat your home efficiently
A draught stopper can help heat your home efficiently. Photography: iStock.

How to heat your home efficiently

Lay a rug down

Then we have rugs: the right rug can keep your feet warm in winter. How warm depends on the material, pile and weight. Using an anti-slip underlay can also have the added benefit of providing extra warmth. According to the Carpet Institute, uninsulated floors can account for 10%-20% of heat loss in a home.

a stylish living room
The right rug can insulate your floor and help prevent heat loss, but how effective it is depends on a few factors. Photography: iStock.

How to heat your home efficiently

Rearrange your furniture

Keeping furniture away from radiators will let warm air move around the room. Any large furniture such as beds, sofas or wardrobes should be at least 1 foot away from radiators. This tip can save you up to 10% on bills. If your bed is next to an external wall, rearranging your room so your bed is against an internal wall will help you stay warmer. 

Glass is not good for insulating rooms. If your bed is close to a window or external wall, rearranging your furniture so that your bed is away from windows and next to internal walls can be a cost-free way of staying warm at night.

heat your home efficiently
Furniture should be at least 1ft away from radiators. Ledbury 4 column radiator, 660 x 600mm in satin gold (new finish available from October), £1,270 exc valves, The Radiator Company.

How to heat your home efficiently

Ditch the summer duvet

Switching to a 10.5 to 13 tog duvet will be perfect for winter. Opting for black bedding will also absorb heat. Keeping a blanket at hand at night will also help you stay warm while sleeping. 

10.5 tog double size duvet: from £11

cotton on a duvet
Switch to a warmer duvet, and also consider black bed linen. Photography: iStock.

How to heat your home efficiently

Install a radiator shelf 

A floating shelf installed above a radiator can direct heat forward into the room rather than rising up to the ceiling, with the added benefit of extra storage space. Alternatively, use reflector panels behind the radiator to reduce heat loss and reflect heat back into the room.

Radiator shelf average price: £20

Reflector panels: from £7

heat your home efficiently
Install a shelf above your radiator so you can deflect the heat back into the room. Linea Plus wall-mounted energy efficient radiator, from £122.99, The Radiator Centre.

How to heat your home efficiently

Keep clothing off radiators

Drying wet clothes on a radiator can be a cause of multiple issues: mould, health risks, preventing heat from circulating, and it makes your boiler work harder. This can cost you a huge amount of money on your energy bills. Use a clothes dryer or towel rail by a window instead which will keep your radiators working efficiently.

a white radiator in a living area
Sebino horizontal aluminium radiator in standard white, from £834 exc valves, The Radiator Company.

How to heat your home efficiently

Bleed radiators 

Lastly: air can collect in radiators, which prevents hot water from circulating around and heating up properly, costing you energy and money. All you need is a radiator key, an old cloth to hold the key with, and a jug to catch any droplets of water that may leak. If you don’t have a key, they can be quite cheap and it won’t take long to bleed a radiator. To tell if a radiator needs bleeding, feel them when they are on. If it feels hotter in some places than others, it means your radiator needs bleeding.

Once you have identified which radiators need bleeding, turn the heating off and make sure they are cold before you begin. Identify the valve, which is usually on the side of the radiator. Insert the radiator key and turn anti-clockwise. You should hear the air hiss, and when you see water escape, shut the valve. Once the air is bled, your radiator can heat up correctly, which improves energy efficiency. Note: if you have a combi boiler, it will need to be re-pressurised afterwards.

Radiator key: from 80p

heat your home efficiently
Bleed radiators to make them work more efficiently. Mini fixed feet radiator, from £154.84, The Radiator Centre.

Advice from retailers

A spokesperson from Bed Kingdom says:  

“There are millions across the country who are worried about paying their energy bills and heating the home. As summer ends and we enter the colder months, it is more important than ever to find affordable ways to stay warm without using gas or electricity. Using these tips will help to insulate your home and save you money on heating bills.”

We also have some expert comment from Simon Morris, Marketing Manager at The Radiator Company:

“Now more than ever before, we need to get the most out of our heating systems, not just to save energy but to save money too.

There are some pretty simple things you can do to immediately to make a difference to how much gas you consume while heating your home this winter. Here’s a few:

If you haven’t already, get your boiler and heating system serviced. You might not notice them, but cold spots can appear in radiators and are usually caused by a build-up of sludge. Over time, this causes your rads to be far less efficient, using extra energy and producing less heat. All this will cost you money. And it’s easily remedied by a plumber putting inhibitor into your system.

Turn down each the thermostat. The Energy Saving Trust recommends temperatures for comfortable living of between 18 and 21 degrees, depending upon the room. It’s quite an eye-opener to realise that, if you have a single thermostat for the entire house, for every degree you increase the temperature, you could be increasing your heating bill by about 10% (Energy Saving Trust).

More advice from The Radiator Company

a matt black vertical radiator
Water Lily vertical radiator in Matt Black, 1820mm x 312mm, single tube, £552 exc valves, The Radiator Company.

Controlling the temperature in individual rooms is most easily done by ensuring you have a thermostatic valve (TRV) on each rad. And simply turn down those in rooms that aren’t being used.

And three very simple things we can all do are: keep doors shut during the day between rooms and only heat the room/s you are using; don’t open a window with the heating on in that room. If you want fresh air, turn off the radiator in that room first; make sure your hot water tank (if you have one) is insulated.

If you’re currently renovating or in the fortunate position of changing your radiators, one of the most energy-saving decisions you can make is to install aluminium rads instead of the normal steel or cast iron ones. Aluminium will heat up (and cool down) in just under half the time of a steel radiator and uses 50% less water. This obviously saves energy and, therefore, saves you money. And, what’s more, they don’t have to be expensive. Our Sebino range starts at £474 exc valves.”

Advice from The Radiator Centre on how to heat your home efficiently

Here’s some expert advice from Nick Duggan, Director of The Radiator Centre:

“When thinking about the costs of running a radiator, you need to consider its efficiency. Radiators that have less water in them require less energy to heat up and as a result, should be cheaper to run.  There are a wide range of ‘efficiency’ radiators designed to work in this way, with some having only 10% of the water of a similar sized conventional radiator.”

Mini Wall radiator, price on request, The Radiator Centre.

“In terms of materials, aluminium radiators generally have lower water content and faster reaction times than a steel equivalent. The designs and finishes of aluminium radiators have developed rapidly over recent years so now, besides benefitting from a more energy efficient system, you can make a great design statement as well.

The output of a radiator depends on the amount of surface from which heat can dissipate from. Hence why more conventional radiators generally have convectors in the middle. Many modern designs act on this principle by building in hidden ‘fins’ and ‘grooves’ from which the heat can escape.” 

So, there are lots of tips on how to heat your home efficiently. If you want to read more energy saving advice, you’ll enjoy this feature on kitchen and bathroom solutions for lowering your energy costs.

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