Tricks to Save Energy & Money
Bulky jumpers and those bone-chilling cold nights can only mean one thing, that Winter is well and truly upon us. It’s generally a time when we watch our energy bills rise due to increased lighting and heating usage. However, there are ways you can save energy and money, which is good for both your hip pocket and our wonderful planet’s wellbeing. Keeping your home warm in Winter is more about common sense than anything. Primarily it’s down to two main considerations: How you keep the cold and drafts outside, and how to keep all of that cosy heat inside your home.
Let’s start with the frontline and perhaps one of the most important barriers, outer insulation of your home. This includes insulation batts built into walls & ceilings or even your actual walls (in the case of a double brick house). Periodically checking the condition of these batts (where applicable) to see if they are still doing their job and then maintaining where needed is extremely important to continuing to keep your home well insulated. The better insulated your windows are too naturally the better heat retention your rooms will have. Double glazing works well for this purpose from an energy conservation point of view, as there will be less need to reheat a room and they have the added benefit of having noise buffering qualities. External shutters and awnings will help to protect your home from the elements and give a little extra insulation to your windows externally.
If you are in a rental though or otherwise not able to install double glazing, consider the buffer you can put between your room and the outside world. With windows this might be an adhesive film, a layer of heavy drapery or a solid block out roller blind. Either of the latter options work best when they cover from wall to wall and ceiling to floor providing premium insulation from the window itself leeching heat. Look to the floor also as carpet’s inherent nature is to insulate and will provide you with the most consistent thermal barrier underfoot, in much the same manner as drapes or blinds do to windows. Yarns, materials and even pile heights of carpet can further assist, with my go to being felted wool carpets such as Carpet Court’s Defined Charm, Hawksview, Far North and Lake Chalice ranges, as they not only physically insulate but they look great too. If you have hard flooring, think about covering your floors with large rugs (particularly in bedrooms or living areas) with underlays or slip mats underneath which will not only keep them in place but also provide the best possible barrier between your feet and the cold floor beneath.
If you are thinking of installing hard flooring, consider underfloor heating before you embark on the journey. There are many options available for this including electric underfloor heating and hydronic systems and you’ll be happy you did it early in the process. Always make sure to consider the heating type, your flooring type (whether it’s appropriate for certain types of underfloor heating, if at all) and rooms where it will be used as their installation and running costs can vary. For instance, in smaller areas electric underfloor heating might be more efficient, however for a whole house solution your running costs will be lower with a hydronic system although it will be more expensive to install at the outset. If in doubt always ask the manufacturer or supplier what the best solution for you might be. Never forget though that there are more simplistic, tried and true heating solutions available, once again consider what is appropriate for that room or area to provide an efficient and effective heating solution, whether it be a gas heater, electric split system, space heater, a gas or wood burning fireplace or the very efficient hydronic pillar heaters. Again, common sense will take precedence so make sure doors to the space are closed, windows are covered appropriately as above and stopping heat seeping under doors by using those ultra chic door snakes that look terrible but work wonderfully. Popping on a jumper or cosying up on the couch with a blanket too never goes astray.
All of these will help you in one way or another to cut down on energy and costs in the harsh of Winter, making you Winter efficient.