How to keep your house warm in winter
By: Shell Energy
27 Nov 2020
The time of year has come where the weather outside is starting to turn frightful. That means millions of Britons will be looking for ways to keep their homes warm and snug during the colder months of the year. Whether you live in a country house or city apartment, we'll all be tempted to reach for the thermostat to turn the dial up a notch or two.
There's no doubt that the drop in temperature in winter causes gas and electricity usage to surge. So just how do you keep warm while saving on energy bills? In this guide, we bring you everything you need to know to keep your house cosy when it's cold outside.
General tips for keeping the house warm
There are a few actions you can take to keep your house warm before cranking up the heating. You could:
- Keep internal doors closed – trap heat in each room by closing the doors inside your home.
- Don’t block radiators – avoid covering the radiators with clothes or blocking them with furniture such as your sofa. Moving furniture a few inches away from your radiators will help the heat to spread throughout the room and keep it warmer for longer.
- Reflect on your radiators - place a radiator reflector panel or even a sheet of tin foil behind your radiators. This will help reflect the warm air back into the room and prevent heat being lost through walls. Plus, it’ll only cost you a few pounds. The room will feel warmer without you having to run your radiators at a high temperature, but it’s only really effective on radiators on external walls.
- Draw the curtains – there’s no harm in closing the curtains once the sun has gone down during winter, especially as it gets darker earlier. Doing so will help keep the heat from escaping.
- Consider double and triple glazing – most new homes come with double glazing, which helps keep cold and noise from entering your home. Triple glazing is even more energy efficient.
- Block the chimney – fireplaces add a layer of charm to a home, but they can also let the cold in. By using an inflatable draft excluder in your chimney, you can trap the warm air and prevent the winter chill from getting in.
- Insulation – a well-insulated home stays warmer for longer. Areas to consider include your walls, roof, loft, floors, pipes, tanks and radiators.
- Boiler replacements – Boilers tire with age, become less efficient, and struggle to do their job properly. This inefficiency, combined with an increased likelihood of breakdowns, means an old boiler can cost you more in the long run than a replacement. You can find out more about replacing your boiler in our handy guide to boiler replacement, or you can get covered with boiler breakdown cover through HomeServe.
- Check your eligibility for the Green Homes Grant - To help you make home upgrades in the winter, the government has introduced the Green Homes Grant. Homeowners and landlords in England can apply for vouchers worth up to two thirds of the cost of upgrading the energy efficiency of their home.
Staying warm at night
It’s one thing being cold during the daytime; it’s another entirely at night. Leaving the heating on overnight isn’t a sustainable answer, no matter your energy tariff. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to stay warm and enjoy a good night’s sleep in the recommended optional temperature of 18.3C.
Consider buying an electric blanket to stay nice and toasty while you sleep. Lower-wattage blankets typically cost around 8p per night, which makes them a good money-saving option.
How to heat specific rooms and areas around the home
Keeping your whole house warm during the winter can sometimes be tricky as certain rooms or areas of your home such as the attic or basement, could be letting unnecessary heat into your home.
How to keep a conservatory warm
All that glass makes it easier for your conservatory to get cold during the winter, especially as most of them aren’t insulated in the same way as other rooms in the house. Therefore, you should try and limit heat escaping by using draught excluders along the bottom of the doors and ensuring windows have quality seals in place.
How to keep attics warm
An insulated attic stands a far better chance of keeping the house warm compared to one that isn’t properly insulated. Installing insulation in your attic is one of the most effective ways to make sure heat isn’t lost. Most people also leave attic windows bare – especially if the room isn’t in use – but curtains or blinds can help stop some of the cold from getting in.
How to keep basements warm
Basements tend to be dark and damp places and therefore are ripe for the cold. Some actions for storing the heat include insulation, sealing leaks and cracks in the windows, foundations and floors, and adding floor rugs or wall-to-wall carpets.
How to make a garage warm
Garages attached to the house can be a prime way for the cold to get into the home. Installing an aluminium garage door, rather than a steel one, can reduce the amount of cold that gets in as aluminium is a better insulator. Adding insulation to your garage door will be even more effective.
How to keep an old house warm
Older homes are full of character and charm, whether it’s that period mantelpiece, high ceilings or sash windows. The drawback, however, is that an older home tends to get colder faster than a new house. Tricks to combat this include letting the sun in during the day by opening all the curtains, draft-proofing and ensuring that furniture isn’t blocking any vents.
A fireplace can also be a great way to keep the front room warm. Just bear in mind that other rooms in the house might suffer as a result, with cold air being pulled into the house elsewhere while heat is exhausted through the fireplace.
Keeping drafts out
Drafts are one of the primary ways that heat escapes the home, letting cold air in. Almost every house has a draft, regardless of its age.
DIY fixes for drafts include buying insulated curtains and using weatherstrips as a way to stop heat escaping. Draft-proofing is one of the cheapest ways to save energy in the home, and these inexpensive methods can save you up to £20 a year on your energy bills.
Proper insulation is one of the best ways to safeguard your home against drafts, but blocking obvious places such as windows, doors, chimneys and floorboards will help too.
Energy saving advice
Looking for more ways to save energy at home during winter? We’ve put together a list of helpful resources, including advice from trusted partners to support you in managing your usage and bills, and a few more quick and easy-to-follow energy saving tips you can implement at home.