Yesterday, September 23rd, was the autumn equinox, which means the nights are now starting to draw in and there’s a much more noticeable chill in the air. Despite the distinct lack of summer, autumn will be well underway very soon, with winter hot (or should that be cold?) on its heels.
At the start of autumn, whilst temperatures are still fairly mild, it’s the perfect time to winter-proof your home to ensure you stay toasty and warm without using excessive energy. Here are a few easy ways that you can keep your home warm this winter…
Rearrange your furniture
Having the sofa pushed up against the radiator may have been fine in the summer when you weren’t using your central heating. However, leaving the sofa there throughout winter will only serve to block the heat from getting into the rest of the room, leaving you relying on blankets and thick socks to keep you feeling warm in the living room. If you have any large furniture in front of your radiators, now is the time to have a bit of a rearrange and free up your heat sources.
Let the sunlight in
On a sunny winter’s day the best thing you can do is to leave your curtains open and let the sun stream into your home. The sun’s rays are infrared, which means they cause objects to heat up, and this heat is then transferred from the objects to the air, raising the ambient temperature. It may only raise the temperature in the room by one or two degrees, but it could mean that you can get away with putting your heating on an hour or so later than you normally would.
Close the curtains at night
All of the sunlight that you’ve let into your home during the day will go to waste if you don’t remember to close your curtains when the sun starts to go down. Swap your thin summer curtains for thick, lined winter curtains and be sure to close them as soon as the sun starts to go down. It’s also worth noting that curtains should not hang so low that they cover the radiators as this can block the heat from getting into the room properly.
Exclude the draughts
Most homes, especially older ones, will experience draughts that blow through gaps in the windows, or sneak under that small gap between the door and the floor. Excluding the draughts throughout your home can help to keep it feeling warmer, meaning you won’t need to run your central heating for as long each day. An old pair of tights stuffed with polyester toy stuffing or beanbag filling makes a great DIY draught excluder that can be used to stop heat escaping under your doors.
Use aluminium foil to reflect heat
Tear off sheets of aluminium foil and attach them to the wall behind your radiators, with the shiny side facing out. The heat from the radiator will hit the foil and be reflected back into the room, rather than it being absorbed by the cold, hard wall as it previously was. Putting a shelf above your radiator can also help to channel the heat into the room, rather than up to the ceiling.
Cover up keyholes
It may not seem like much, but those little holes in your front door can cause you to lose quite a lot of heat! Invest in a keyhole cover; they’re available from most DIY stores and are really easy to fit yourself. They swing to the side to allow you to use your key, and the cover prevents excess heat loss. Whilst we’re on the subject of front doors, you may also want to fit a letterbox cover or draught excluder to keep a bit more of the cold out.
DIY double glazing
Most modern homes come with double or triple glazing as standard now, but many older homes still have single glazed windows. Whilst they may be aesthetically pleasing, they don’t do a very good job of keeping your home warm. If you’re budget won’t stretch to new windows you could make a DIY version yourself using bubble wrap! Simply cut the bubble wrap to the size of your windows and tape it onto the glass to keep the heat in. You’ll be far too toasty and warm to care what it looks like!
Don’t heat unused rooms
If you have a spare bedroom or a dining room that doesn’t get used very often, don’t waste energy and money heating them up unnecessarily. Turn off the radiators in any unused rooms, and close the doors to prevent the cold air from escaping into the rest of the house.