As energy costs show no signs of long-term decline, we all need to consider how we can afford to pay our winter heating bills and, at the same time, continue to protect the environment. The great thing is that there are a number of attractive and stylish solutions available to help stay warm, keep those bills small and remain eco-friendly.
Raised shutters are stylish and effective at reducing heat loss through windows
While wall-to-wall carpet may indeed trap cool air and thus keep your feet warm, not everyone likes it. Instead, opt for a stylish, yet cheaper, alternative and use area rugs to cover bare floorboards. Place these strategically in areas where you normally stand or sit. That way you get the comfort and warmth you need exactly where you need it.
If you have radiators or wall-mounted heaters you can improve their efficiency by using reflective material behind them. Many people use foil and if you want it to look good, try framing a sheet of cardboard-covered foil to create a chic hi-tech effect.
If you have a ceiling fan try reversing the direction in winter. By making it turn clockwise you’ll push warm air at ceiling level back down towards the floor; you can really feel the difference! This will reduce demand on your heating system and you’ll save on your bills.
Windows and doors
Sunlight will warm a room, so open curtains and shutters and raise blinds in the mornings on east-facing windows so the sun and the warmth can stream in. To keep heat indoors in the evenings, consider replacing window coverings altogether with full solid raised shutters, which look incredibly stylish and are extraordinarily effective at reducing heat loss through windows. If you consider that heavy curtains might save 15 percent of heat loss, for example, there is no doubt that at more than 50 percent coverage, shutters are a much better option.
Just like windows, heat is lost through doors, particularly if they fit badly, allowing drafts to enter. Filling and sealing any gaps or cracks in door frames with weather stripping and around window frames with waterproof caulk will save money and can be done quickly and easily. This will also improve the appearance of door and window frames, particularly in older properties.
Insulating water tanks and pipes will help retain heat and you may then be able to heat your water at a lower temperature. You can also upcycle any spare foam used to cover your pipes and turn it into a draft excluder.
Furnaces and fireplaces
Check furnace filters every month if your home is heated in this way and replace any that are clogged. When not using your fireplace, ensure the damper is closed and fits tightly to stop warm air from seeping out. Wood burning stoves and heaters should be cleaned at least once a year and any debris in chimneys cleared away.
With a little bit of attention to detail, you can have a warm, eco-friendly home that it won’t cost a fortune to heat.