With cooler temperatures arriving and energy prices on the increase, making your home more energy efficient for winter is a smart thing to do. But are there any truly proven ways to make a home more energy efficient, ways which will lead to a warmer home and a decreased need to turn on the central heating? If you wish to make your home more efficient, you probably have a few questions:
- Can I make my home more energy efficient myself?
- If not, how much will it cost to make my home energy efficient?
- What are the biggest problem areas of a home with regard to efficiency?
- Are there any quick-fixes when making a home more energy efficient?
How to make a home more energy efficient
First of all, it’s important to understand that most homes are inadequately insulated for modern day life. If you live in a house that’s over fifty years old and since being built has never been overhauled with modern insulation, there’s a good chance that you are leaking heat from parts of your home that you can’t even see.
For this reason, we at Energy Company Numbers recommends that a thermal imaging survey of your property is carried out. A thermal imaging survey will show you where your home is losing the most heat visually, so you can go ahead and make the necessary changes to your insulation to make your home energy efficient for the winter. Without this insight, it is hard to increase the energy efficiency of one’s home, for you will basically be making improvements blind-folded.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about the most inefficient part of the home – the attic. According to several studies, the attic is the biggest cause for concern in the home. For this reason, it is very often the first thing that homeowners address while trying to improve efficiency, and this is something we highly recommend. The walls of the home are another often inefficient part of the home that need addressing. The best way to see if your insulation is inadequate is to do a do-it-yourself audit.
Rather than rehash some already well-written advice, we recommend reading this DIY home energy audit guide to get started. Another option is to hire a specialist company to check your insulation for you, but when you can do the majority of checks yourself, why would you? We say save money and perform an audit yourself.
Quick-fixes to make a home more energy efficient
If you don’t have time to perform major changes to your home to boost efficiency, there are some quick ways to keep the heat in.
For a start, you should address your windows and your exterior and interior doors. The doors to your property should be completely sealed from the outside to prevent any loss of heat and drafts. The best way to check for drafts and cold air getting in, is to close your door and run your hand across the sides, bottom and top of your door. If you feel cool air touching your hand, then there are improvements that can be made. We recommend you buy a draught excluder for the bottom of your door, and buy weather sealing strips from your local hardware store – B&Q and Homebase stock these, as do some ASDA stores. Those same strips can be used on windows that are letting cold air in.
The doors within your property should should also be completely sealed, to keep the heat in each room. There are several products on the market that can help you to achieve this – draft stoppers which go at the bottom of the door are a good bet, and they do work perfectly well. On ill-fitting internal doors however this issue is tougher to rectify. If you your door isn’t almost flush with its frame, then the only thing you can really do is buy a new door. The good news is this shouldn’t cost too much, depending on its size.
Home owners struggling with heat loss will find a thermal imaging survey invaluable. A thermal imaging survey will cost a few hundred pounds, but it will identify which areas of your home are letting heat out (see the above image as an illustration). With this information you can then perform the necessary improvements to your home.
When it comes to your windows, double glazing is good, and triple glazing is even better. If you have either of those, you will already have efficient windows. If you live in a property with single glazing and cannot afford or have double or triple glazing installed because your home is listed or otherwise, thick curtains, windows drapes, and transparent adhesive stickers are a good option (with regard to the latter, check out this product). There should also be a decent seal around the windows to prevent drafts – if you have older windows, this might be a problem (especially so with sash windows), in which case you should do your best to seal any problem areas. We recommend packing any gaps with wet tissue which when dry will offer a good barrier.
If you are serious abut making your home more energy efficient for winter, you should also learn to live more efficiently. To this end, these energy saving tips from the Energy Saving Trust are invaluable.
Also, please remember to wrap up warm in the winter months and stock up on tea and biscuits!