Winter is coming, as the saying goes.
As the temperatures start to dip, many of us begin to think about how to keep our homes warm and efficient during the chilly months. While the UK may not experience winters as harsh as some other countries, it’s still essential to winter-proof your home to ensure maximum comfort and minimal energy costs. Here, at CDMS Sussex we have helped hundreds of homeowners make their properties winter-ready, and today we share our insider tips for achieving a home that’s snug, energy-efficient and resilient against the elements.
Why is winter-proofing important?
Before we dive into the specifics, let’s talk about why winter-proofing is essential:
- Energy efficiency: Making your home more efficient can save you a significant amount on your energy bills.
- Comfort: A well-insulated home is a comfortable home. Cold drafts and chilly rooms can make life miserable.
- Environmental impact: An efficient home is also good for the environment, reducing your carbon footprint.
Insulation is king
Insulation is one of the most effective ways to keep your home warm. Here are the areas you should focus on:
- Wall insulation: Roughly 35% of heat loss occurs through uninsulated walls. Solid or cavity wall insulation can help you save up to £160 a year on your heating bills.
- Loft insulation: Heat rises, and a lot of it escapes through your roof. Proper loft insulation can save you around £130 per year.
- Floor insulation: Don’t forget the floors! Investing in good quality floor insulation can cut heat loss and help your feet stay warm.
Read our full insulation blog here – https://cdmssussex.co.uk/the-importance-of-insulating-your-home/
Draught-proofing doors: more than just excluders
Draught excluders are a quick and cost-effective solution, but they are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to draught-proofing your doors.
- Weather-stripping: This involves sealing the gaps around the door frame and is effective in preventing both drafts and water ingress.
- Door sweeps: Attached to the bottom of the door, these serve as a physical barrier between the interior and exterior, helping to stop cold air from entering.
- High-quality door materials: Opt for solid wood, fibreglass, or steel doors as opposed to hollow or poor-quality doors, which can compromise your home’s thermal efficiency.
Even the most energy-efficient windows and doors require regular maintenance to perform at their best.
- Check for gaps and cracks: Over time, the sealing around windows and doors may deteriorate. Make it a habit to check and replace any worn-out weatherstripping or sealant.
- Clean the frames and glass: Dust and grime can sometimes affect the closing mechanism, leading to tiny gaps. Regular cleaning ensures that your windows and doors are sealed tightly.
By investing in high-quality, well-insulated windows and doors, and keeping them well-maintained, you can significantly contribute to your home’s overall winter-proofing strategy.
The importance of a good boiler
A boiler often serves as the central hub of the heating system, supplying hot water and ensuring that radiators distribute warmth evenly. Given its crucial role, a reliable and efficient boiler can make all the difference when it comes to comfort and energy costs during the winter months.
Before diving into the features of a good boiler, it’s important to understand the drawbacks of keeping an outdated or inefficient one.
- Higher energy bills: Old boilers, particularly those operating below 70% efficiency, can significantly inflate your energy bills. You could be paying hundreds of pounds extra each year.
- Frequent repairs: Older models are prone to more frequent breakdowns, which means you’ll be spending more on repairs and parts.
- Environmental impact: Inefficient boilers produce more carbon emissions, contributing to climate change.
The good news is that modern boilers come with a host of technologies that improve efficiency and reduce your carbon footprint.
- Condensing boilers: These capture heat from the exhaust gases that would otherwise escape, recycling it back into the heating system. This can improve efficiency by up to 12%.
- Modulating burners: These adjust the burner output based on the heating demand, ensuring that your boiler uses only the energy it needs, reducing waste.
- Programmable thermostats and smart controls: These systems allow you to set heating schedules and even control your heating remotely, making sure you use energy only when needed.
Small changes, big difference
Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that home improvement must be a grand, sweeping endeavour to be effective. However, even small adjustments can lead to significant gains in the comfort and efficiency of your home, particularly during the chillier months. Here are some small things that you can change that will have an impact, today.
Thermostatic radiator valves (trvs): the zonal masters
- Installing Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs) on your radiators allows you to control the temperature in individual rooms rather than heating your entire house to one uniform temperature.
- Energy savings: By adjusting the heat in rooms based on usage, TRVs can contribute to energy savings. Why heat a guest room to the same temperature as a living room that’s in constant use?
- Enhanced comfort: TRVs provide the ability to customise your living environment. You might prefer a cooler bedroom but a warmer kitchen and TRVs allow you this flexibility.
- Ease of installation: These are generally easy to install, making them a low-effort change with high impact.
Smart thermostats: the genius of heating
Smart thermostats are an increasingly popular way to manage your home’s heating. They offer several features that can make your home more efficient and comfortable.
- Learning algorithms: Many smart thermostats have the ability to “learn” your habits. They can auto-adjust settings based on when you’re typically home, awake, or asleep, ensuring you use energy only when necessary.
- Remote control: Forget to turn off the heating before leaving for a weekend getaway? With a smart thermostat, you can adjust your home’s temperature from your smartphone, no matter where you are.
- Energy reports: These devices often generate usage reports, allowing you to understand your energy consumption patterns better and make informed decisions to reduce usage.
- Integration with other smart devices: Many smart thermostats can be integrated with other smart home devices, like voice-activated assistants, allowing for a seamless, intelligent home environment.
Investing in winter-proofing your home not only makes financial sense but also helps you contribute to a greener planet. The first step is to identify the key areas in your home that need attention. There are lots of small things that you can do today to make big savings tomorrow.
For more information, get in touch with us today to make sure you’re ready for when the mercury drops. Stay warm!