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“Oh the weather outside is frightful, but
the fire is so delightful….” goes the well-known Christmas tune. Especially
when it’s cold and wintery outdoors, there’s nothing quite like the comforts of
a cosy home. Which is all well and good – except when your energy bills keep
heading in the wrong direction and heat conservation suddenly becomes a big,
scary topic.

Whether you live in a draughty old period
villa or you’re simply looking for a few extra tips to reduce future heating
bills, it pays to approach your home heating requirements in three ways.
1.      
Maximise the benefit: Think
about where in each room the heat is coming from and make sure it can get to
the right place.
Keep your
radiators clear – don’t block them with big items of furniture. That sofa will
absorb the heat and stop it from warming up the rest of the room. Try rearranging
furniture so that the radiators aren’t covered up and see the difference it
makes to the temperature in the room.
Similarly, don’t
put your washing on radiators to dry, as it will make your boiler have to work
harder. Hang laundry outside if you can, or get an inexpensive clothesdrying rack.
2.      
Minimise wastage: Think about
where valuable heat may be escaping and block heat loss.
Draught excluders
come in many shapes and sizes. From simple adhesive tape and weather seals to brush
door strips and funky door cushions, it doesn’t need to cost a lot to minimise
heat loss around doors and windows.
Curtains are
always a good way to stop heat escaping through windows and doors, especially
if they’re made of heavy-duty fabrics and with thermal lining. Heavy curtains
inside the front door with keep draughts out and warmth in. For a more
permanent (though costly) solution to a draughty front door, you may consider inserting
an additional interior door between the outer porch and the hallway.
You may wish to
replace old and draughty windows – sash and old aluminium or Crittall-type
windows are especially prone.For limited budgets, fitting secondary double
glazing or using window film are cheaper alternatives.
Window shutters
are another popular solution. Wooden plantationshutters with thick, rotating horizontal slats let light in when open and
seal the window from draughts when closed. They give a lovely traditional feel
to the room, meaning they complement period properties with original sash
windows particularly well.
3.      
Reduce your need: Think about lowering
your requirement for central heating altogether.
According to uSwitch,
you can save as much as £60 per year simply by turning your central heating
thermostat down by 1°C. That’s easy money saved for a tiny change you won’t
even notice.
Why not go one
step further and experiment with turning the heating down even more? Obviously,
you don’t want to be freezing cold but nor should you be expecting your home to
feel like Alicante in August. Try putting on an extra jumper, socks or slippers
and see how you feel. And if you invest in a warmer duvet you may find that you
actually sleep much better in a cooler room!
Finally, if you
have a wood burning stove or an open fireplace, use it to supplement your
central heating. Cheaper to run and oh so delightful, sometimes a cosy fire in
the lounge is all that’s needed to make you feel happy in your home.

Article provided by Mike James, an
independent content writer working together with Sussex based Window Shutter
specialists The WindowShutter Company, who were consulted over the
information in this post.