There can be few experiences more dispiriting than sitting on your living room sofa and watching your own breath hanging in the air in front of you. You want to turn on the central heating, but the thought of your next energy bill persuades you to put this off for as long as possible. Whilst you cannot do a lot about the price of your heating, there are certainly steps that you can take to reduce the amount that you use. The most basic and effective one is to proof your house against draughts; not only will this prevent cold air from coming in, it will also prevent warm air from escaping.
You may notice a draught coming in around your front door, and possibly the back door too. Even the letterbox can let you down in cold weather. Furthermore, the gap that you invariably find at the bottom of your internal doors means that unless each room in your house is heated to the same degree, heat is going to migrate from the warmer areas to the colder ones.
The best way to weatherproof your front and back doors is to attach strips of self-adhesive draught excluder to the edges. This comes in rubber, foam and brush pile versions. For interior doors you just need to find something put at the bottom; you can always buy the traditional stuffed snake, or even make your own out of a very long sock!
Windows are another way for draughts to sneak into your house, forcing their way in through the gap between window and frame. Sash windows can be particularly vulnerable when it comes to letting in cold air.
Again, draught proofing strips will do the job, assuming that they are opening windows. Another option, which will also work with fixed windows, is double glazing film. This costs around ten pounds for enough to cover four standard sized windows. It attaches to your frames with double sided tape, and shrinks down to a nice, taut surface when you fire a hairdryer at it.
Bare wooden floors are a popular feature of houses these days, but those which are over unheated spaces such as cellars or garages can let precious warmth escape, as can the suspended floors that you often find in older buildings. You can either get a professional in to fit insulation sheets between the floor joists, or you can insulate your floors yourself by other means.
Flexible insulation seal, which you squeeze down between your floorboards, is widely available in 40 metre rolls. Prices start from around twenty pounds. You won’t see any difference to your floor after you fit it, but you should feel it! For sealing around your skirting boards use decorator’s caulk, prices for a 300ml tube start from about one pound.
As you can see, it’s not prohibitively expensive to proof your house against draughts, and with current energy prices it should pay for itself quickly. With the money you save, why not invest in fitting new loft insulation? If you can get up there quite easily, it’s not a particularly difficult job to carry out. Thus, you can save yourself even more money!
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