While winter can be a magical time of the year, it can also pose a few problems to homeowners.
Are you fed up of being cold in your own home? Or are you looking to reduce how much you spend on staying warm this year?
Learning about the best ways to insulate your home can help keep you warmer and save you money.
An energy efficient home is also a more environmentally friendly home. So if you have been planning on going green, then insulating your home is also a good place to start.
Making sure your home is well maintained for winter is always advisable, as you can prevent a lot of problems before they occur. But there are lots of other tricks you can use, that you may not have even thought of to insulate your home and be more energy efficient. And they don't have to cost an arm and a leg.
Read these 12 steps to insulating your home that can help keep you cozy this winter and every winter.
1. Insulating Your Home From the Floor Upwards
If you have an older home, then wooden floorboards add lots of character and style. However, there are almost certainly some gaps between those floorboards.
These gaps might look small but they sure can create a large draft. Over the entire floor space of your house, all of the gaps in the floorboards combined can add up to the same as leaving a door ajar. And there's no way you would do that in the middle of winter!
One super easy way to stop drafts coming up through gaps in the floorboards is to put a rug over them. This will make quite a big difference and obviously requires no special skills or equipment.
However, if you want to properly fix the gaps in your floorboards it is perfectly easy to do.
Silicone sealer, which you can buy from any regular hardware store, can be used to fill gaps between floorboards and between the floor and skirting board.
You can also get sealant strips. These are long rubber or silicone strips that you just push between floorboards. This is more time consuming, but also less messy and is also reversible.
2. Draft Proof Doors
It might sound old fashioned, but have you considered getting draft stoppers for the bottom of your doors?
Draft stoppers are cheap to buy and can be put down in winter, and then stored away during summer. If you are creative and good at crafts, you can evento coordinate with your home decor.
You can also buy draft brushes that attach to the bottom of doors and across letterboxes on external doors that prevent drafts.
For internal doors, you can buy sealant tape that fits all around the door frame to create a perfect seal when the door is shut. This eliminates all drafts from the door and is a cheap and easy fix.
If you are still struggling to get rid of drafts from doors, it's possible that your doors do not fit as well as they could. If this is the case, then all the tape in the world will not plug the gaps and you may need to get new doors or ask a carpenter to check out your existing ones.
3. Reflect Heat from Radiators
Your radiators are designed to heat the air in your room. But radiators have two sides, and while one side is keeping you nice and warm, the other is just sending heat into the wall.
There are things you can do to make the most of that heat and stop it all disappearing into the wall.
You can buy radiator enhancers or reflectors. These fit between the radiator and the wall and reflect the heat back into the room.
Radiator reflectors are not that expensive, and pretty they're easy to fit. However, if you want a super cheap alternative, you can just tape some aluminum foil behind your radiators and it will do just as good a job.
4. Hunt Those Drafts
So we have talked about sealing up drafts around your doors and in your floors. But where else might you be feeling an unwanted cold breeze?
Even modern homes have lots of places where annoying drafts can escape, but you may not have thought about sealing them up.
One way to find any drafts in your home is to go around the house with a candle. Hold the candle in front of all of your windows, doors, vents, and even electrical outlets. You will soon see if there are any drafts because the candle will flicker or blow out if there is one.
Once you have isolated the problem, you can think about how to insulate the drafts.
With electrical outlets, you can easily cut a foam disc that will just slot in the socket when it is not needed.
With vents and ducts, you have to be a bit more careful. All houses need ventilation, so even if there is a draft you shouldn't necessarily seal up air vents.
Closing off vents and registers can cause problems with your heating system and can potentially be dangerous. If you have an HVAC system, it should be well maintained, and that will include all ducts and vents being examined.
However, if there are drafts around the outside of badly fitted vents, these can be sealed using silicon sealer or duct tape.
5. Insulate the Roof or Attic
A quarter of all heat lost in an uninsulated home is through the roof.
And that could be costing you a lot of money! It's also bad for the environment.
To avoid all this wasted heat, energy, and money, the best thing to do is to get your loft, attic, or roof insulated.
Laying down mineral wool or fiberglass insulation in roof spaces is the best way to insulate your home. And once you've done it one time, you don't need to do it again.
Both mineral wool and fiberglass are lightweight, porous substances that trap air, making them some of the best insulating materials. It is also good for insulating against unwanted noise.
Using fiberglass is one of the cheapest ways to insulate your home. You can insulate your roof space using fiberglass from.
6. Insulate Your Walls
Fiberglass or mineral wool can also be used to fill wall cavities. This would generally have been done when your home was built. However, in the case of some older homes, the walls may need more modern insulation installing retrospectively.
If you have any "cold wall" areas in your home (walls that are made of stone or concrete), one option is to hang drywall over them. Drywall is usually made from plasterboard and is a relatively cheap wall covering.
If you are hanging drywall, you can incorporate a cavity and include fiberglass insulation as well. Although, obviously, this will reduce the size of our room by however big the cavity is plus the thickness of drywall.
7. Use Window Coverings
Stopping heat loss through windows is always a challenge.
The first thing you can do is check if there are any gaps or drafts around the edge of the windows. If there are, you can use sealant tape or silicon sealer to close them up.
Preventing heat loss through the window itself can be more difficult, as you need to make sure that light still gets through the window.
At night, you can cover up your windows, and it's worth thinking about what you use to do that. If you have curtains hanging over your windows, always make sure they are nice and thick.
You don't need to replace thin curtains at an extra cost for extra protection; you can just line your existing curtains. Seeing as the night time is the coldest part of the day, drawing some nice, thickly lined curtains over your windows at night will make a big difference.
If you feel you are losing heat through your windows during the day, there are still things you can do though.
Window insulation kits are quite cheap and easy to buy. They usually incorporate some window tape and some transparent film that give an extra layer of insulation to your windows.
Another really cheap and easy way to cover your windows is to use bubble wrap. Because it is full of little air pockets, it is very good for insulation, and still lets the light in (although not the easiest to see out of!).
8. Install Secondary Glazing
If you are thinking seriously about insulating your home, then installing secondary glazing is an option.
If your home only has one layer of glazing, then you will be losing heat through the windows. Installing secondary glazing will instantly reduce heat loss through windows and is one of the best ways to insulate a house.
However, it is expensive. But on the plus-side, it will save you lots of money on your heating bills, so it's worth considering.
9. Insulate Pipes
Adding insulation to your pipes will help reduce heat loss from your hot water system.
Pipe insulation is relatively cheap and simple to install. It is usually some foam cladding that can simply slide over exposed pipes.
It is important that you take steps to prepare your pipes for the winter. If you think you might have an issue with frozen pipes over the winter, it is recommended that you consult some professional plumbing services.
10. Wrap Your Hot Water Tank
If you get your hot water from a hot water storage tank, then you should consider insulating your water tank.
Just like insulating any other part of your home, insulating your water tank could save you money and energy.
If your tank is an older model, check to see if it has insulation with an R-value of at least 24. If it doesn't, you should consider insulation. This could reduce heat loss by up to 45% and save you around 10% in water heating costs.
You can find pre-cut water tank insulation jackets from around $20. A cost you will make back in energy savings pretty quickly.
11. Seal the Chimney
If you have a chimney and do not use an open fire, it could be letting a lot of heat escape from the room.
Warm air rises, and if you have an open flue in your room, then you can bet that all the lovely warmth you have created will shoot straight up the chimney. This is why you should consider blocking the chimney when it is not in use.
There are lots of different fireplace draft stoppers available in hardware stores and online. They are a cheap and easy way to block what is effectively a big hole in your roof!
If you never use the fire place, then it is worth considering getting the chimney permanently sealed. But you should always get a professional chimney and flue expert to advise you.
12. Make Sure Your Heating System Is Working as Well as It Should
If you use any, or all, of these steps to insulating your home, you will already have made a huge difference to the energy efficiency of your house. You will have saved money and will be keeping you and your family much warmer.
However, if your heating system is not working as well as it should be, then you are still going to be wasting money.
Make sure your home heating system is in full working order by booking a heating tune-up, so you can be confident you are doing everything you can to make your home as energy efficient as possible.
You're All Set For Winter
If you have followed these 12 steps to insulating your home, you will already have saved valuable money and done your bit for the environment.
Even if you have a limited budget there are plenty of tips and hacks using everyday materials like bubble wrap, that can help insuulate your home without costing the earth.
But if you want to know more about winter-proofing your plumbing or heating systems, then don't hesitate to contact us today.