With the warmer seasons out the way for this year, it’s time to start preparing your home for high winds, frigid temperatures and that bitter chill that sets in your bones, no matter how much you wrap up or number of layers you wear. While for many people, that might just be turning the heating up or setting the timer to come on earlier in the day, here are some ways you can keep a cosy home without costing you double on the gas and electric bills.
Checking Your Property Over
When was the last time you carried out a thorough home inspection, or better yet, hired a professional to do it for you? Properties stand against the external elements from season to season and after a while, they can feel the strain, suffering from holes in the roof or ceiling, damage to doors and windows and picking up the occasional unwelcome pest. You should always take a general walkthrough of your property and check the internal and externals for damage or indications of a greater problem between seasons and usually after a period of extreme weather, whether wind, rain, sun or snow.
Keep a close eye out for signs of damp, including damp patches appearing on walls (especially after it rains), mould and rot growing in dark corners and around windows and indications of a woodworm infestation. If you have a property with a wooden structure, making sure this is without damage or rot is extremely important as damage to your property’s skeleton could lead to more problems than just a chilly room or two.
With any problems in your home noted down, you can start repairs; plugging holes, replacing damp-proof course, updating windows or making other insulating renovations that will help keep the heat in your property over the colder months.
Understand Your Heating System
Whether you have a smart thermostat or a regular one, to keep your home cosy and save on bills, the best thing you can do is get to grips with your heating system. This isn’t learning how to install a boiler or maintain a gas line (which should never be done by anyone other than a fully trained and qualified gas professional) but involves understanding your thermostat, the symbols it displays and how it works to heat up your home.
For instance, many people believe that turning their thermostat to a higher temperature warms the house faster – this is false. Infact, turning your thermostat up just makes your heating system work harder and cost you more on your bills than before. Personal preferences aside, your thermostat should sit around 18 to 20degrees celsius during the day and down to 16 and 17degrees celsius overnight. Every degree you turn your thermostat down by is more money saved off your bills, so consider grabbing that extra thick dressing gown and snuggling down on the sofa.
Don’t forgo your heating at all though, especially during the winter, when unheated (and uninsulated) pipes can freeze leading to burst pipes, leaks, flooding and costly repairs. Most modern boilers have anti-frost protection that will kick in once the detected temperature falls below 5degrees celsius to prevent external pipes becoming frozen.
Closing Doors to Unused Rooms
When you turn your heating on, even with a radiator in each room, the warm air needs to circulate throughout your home and warm up all the rooms. To give your heating system a helping hand to work a little less hard, make sure that all unused rooms have the doors closed and if no-one is going to be using the room at all over the day/evening, turn the TRV (thermostatic radiator valve) down to the lowest setting to avoid wasting heating up the room fully in the first place.
Should you want to invest in your home and looking to gain greater control over your heating to save on energy bills, consider smart TRVs for your radiators or a smart thermostat for your home. Controlled via smartphone or tablet devices over Wi-Fi and internet connections, you’ll never have to worry about accidentally leaving the heating on while you are out again and can easily turn it on to start warming up your home once you are on your way back.
While the weather might be fairly mild in some locations at the moment, this can change over night so get ahead of the seasonal changes now and protect your home against the cold weather, keeping you and your family warm and cosy within all winter long.