How to keep your home warm this winter

Cassie Pryce

Beat the chill by following these top tips on how to efficiently insulate your property, while saving money on your heating bills

Block up chimney breasts

Fireplaces are one of the main culprits of heat loss, particularly in older buildings where they may not have been well-maintained over the years.

 If you have a disused fireplace at home, it may be worthwhile having it capped off to prevent unnecessary draughts coming in through the chimney and, equally, heat from the rest of the house escaping through this channel. 

For a less permanent solution, a chimney balloon can be fitted which is inflated inside the chimneybreast to block the airflow or opt for a fabric draught excluder that does the same job if you’re after something that’s easier to remove.

Fraser Damson curtains with optional thermal lining, from £44.25 for 70cm x 70cm pencil-pleat, Curtains 2 Go

 

Cover wooden floors

In period properties, another part of the house that is prone to considerable heat loss is the flooring. Original wooden boards often have gaps between them which means warm air in the room can easily be lost rather than trapped. 

A simple solution to this is to lay thick carpet in the affected rooms, or even a heavy rug during the colder months to cover the open gaps. 

When choosing a suitable carpet or floor covering, look for a breathable fabric rather than one with a rubber backing which can cause moisture to be trapped beneath, resulting in the build-up of damp which can cause wooden flooring to rot.

Hamlet Heathers twist carpet in grey stone, £27.99 per square metre, Carpetright

 

Invest in insulation

While insulating your house professionally can be an expensive option, it’s one of the most efficient ways to retain heat and, therefore, lower your energy bills. 

Typically, roofs account for a huge part of heat loss and it’s possible to install DIY insulation using rolls of foam for a quick and budget-friendly fix. 

Remember to wear protective clothing, goggles and a facemask when fitting the foam (or other insulator) and leave gaps around the eaves to help air flow and stop condensation building up.

Stars window film, from £16.20, Purlfrost

 

Seal window and door frames

As well as larger gaps around the house, it’s also the small cracks that can allow heat to escape and cause the property to become thermally inefficient. Window and door frames often develop cracks over time which can be treated with a filler in no time at all. It’s important to make sure sealants around these parts of the house are also in good condition and not peeling away, as this creates yet another way for draughts to creep inside. 

To remove old sealant, use a scalpel and pull the line away from the surface. Clean and dry the area beneath if needed and then reapply a new coat of sealant to cover the edges and block up the gaps. 

If you’re unsure which parts of the house are losing heat, it’s worth investing in a professional thermal imagery survey to pinpoint areas that require attention and help boost your property’s energy efficiency.

Chimella chimney draught excluded, £69.99, The Present Finder

 

Choose thermal window dressings

A quick and simple solution to reduce heat loss from your windows is to choose a suitable window dressing for inside. 

Thick curtains are the best option for winter as they will create a barrier within the room that will help trap the heat. Make sure the curtains don’t cover a radiator—choose a shorter length if the radiator is positioned beneath the window and remember to leave them open during the day to let sunlight filter into the room as an additional heat source. 

If you find that heat from a radiator isn’t circulating efficiently, look into purchasing a radiator fan to sit on top and direct the airflow into the centre of the room.