How to keep your house warm this winter – insulate against the cold and block chilly drafts

The weather is on the turn, meaning it’s time to be prepared for when temperatures really plummet. Staying warm at home can be expensive, even more so with the current energy crisis. Which is why we felt the need to come up with some tips for how to keep your house warm in winter, while being mindful of saving some money too.

Whether you’re after small steps to make your home that little bit toastier or are looking at completely refurbishing it to make it as energy efficient as possible, there are plenty of things you can do to prevent unwanted draughts.

Our guide on how to keep your house warm in winter includes our own tricks, as well as pointers on staying snug from a few experts in the field. To keep you and your family cosy until spring, without breaking the bank!

How to keep your house warm in winter

1. Get your boiler serviced

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First and foremost ensure your boiler is up for the demands of a cold winter. ‘If your boiler is ageing and has seen better days, there’s a strong chance it won’t be working as efficiently as it once was’ advises Jordan Chance, heating expert from PlumbNation.co.uk.

‘Defective boilers can increase your heating bill massively as they will need to work significantly harder to bring your home up to the desired temperature. We recommend that you get your boiler serviced every 12 months (preferably before the winter season), to ensure that your boiler is running efficiently and safely.’

‘It is also important to note that leaving your heating on low all day does not reduce your heating bills!’ Jordan warns. ‘Having the heating on only as and when you need it, is the best way to save energy.’

2. Add extra layers

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It seems too obvious but a great way to stay home on cold nights and avoid using too much energy is simply layering up. Keeping extra soft furnishings to hand can make all the difference in saving money on your heating.

3. Update your thermostat

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A thermostat controls your home’s temperature by communicating with your boiler. ‘Thermostats, particularly in older homes with older heating systems, can degrade over time. Such degradation can lead to delays in your boiler switching on, or your home being heated at much higher temperatures than required’ Warns Jordan. ‘Upgrading your thermostat could provide far greater accuracy in thermostat to boiler communication, preventing energy from being wasted, and saving you money.’

‘Using a thermostat with a timer offers a simple and speedy solution to controlling your heating effectively’ Jordan explains. Modern day thermostats can be controlled from your mobile, to ensure your home is nice and warm when you arrive home.

4. Rearrange the furniture

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When trying to stay warm at home during winter be strategic about your furniture placement. Make sure the sofa or a bed isn’t blocking the radiator, as this can stop it heating up the whole room.

Instead position well used pieces of furniture such as your desk, bed or sofa around any heat sources, without blocking them, to make the most of the warmth. Try to keep them away from any draughty spots, such as by a window or door.

5. Keep curtains open until 3pm

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While keeping your curtains closed will keep the heat in at night, keep them open during the day.  Any sunlight will naturally heat up the room, which will all help when you finally draw the curtains as the chilly night sets in.

The sun usually sets at around 4 pm in the height of winter, so to make the most of the natural warmth keep your curtains open until around 3 pm.

6. Draught-proof your windows

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Draught-proofing windows is a simple, worthwhile DIY task. All you need to do is apply self-adhesive foam tape to a window frame (or ask a local handyman to do the job). A 10m roll of foam draught excluder, enough for four average windows, costs as little as £2.50, but can save around £25 a year.

Draughts also occur in cracks between the window frames and the surrounding walls – it’s worth considering using sealant or putty in these.

7. Install a chimney balloon

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It’s no good spending thousands on triple glazing and loft insulation if you then let cold air in through the chimney. The University of Liverpool calculated households lose around 4 per cent of total heat up the chimney, so a high-quality block that prevents draughts could save you over £200 a year. If you don’t use the chimney at all, you could consider having it capped by a professional.

If you do use your chimney but want a solution while it’s not in use,  try a draught excluder instead. Take for instance the Chimney Sheep, the most-effective example on the market. Made from a thick layer of felted Herdwick wool, the Chimney Sheep’s 4.43 tog rating works by blocking 94 per cent of airflow – stopping warm air escaping up a chimney and cold air being pulled in via other routes.

8. Fill the floorboards

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Stripped floorboards look fantastic, but the small gaps between the boards can really let cold air in. Try using a filler to prevent draughts sweeping in through the gaps.

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