‘I’m an energy expert and a simple window method could save you hundreds’

With Ofgem recently announcing its price cap will be going up by five percent (£94) to £1,928 in January, and cold winter set for December, many British households will be looking for ways to save money on heating bills whilst staying warm.

To prepare for a potentially unseasonably cold winter, home energy expert Anthony Threlfall from Everest has shared five cheap DIY energy saving tips that will keep you warm and could save you hundreds of pounds this winter.

An average UK home with inefficient windows will lose roughly 18 percent of its heat through the window pane. About seven percent of homes across the UK have only single pane windows, which can lose heat twice as fast as double glazing.

“Triple glazed windows can be 60 percent more energy efficient than old double glazing and are the best option to reduce your energy bills. But, knowing how to reduce heat loss from old windows if you don’t have the means or option to update your windows with cutting edge triple glazing, is something everyone should be aware of,” said Anthony.

“There are a range of cost effective options available for most budgets and we’d estimate if people did a combination of the five action points we’re recommending, households could reduce their energy bills this winter.”

READ MORE: ‘I’m a plumber – here’s how to warm up your home fast when the heating is on’

Use blinds or thicker curtains

Your choice of curtain could be an effective and budget-friendly way to insulate your home, with heavy fabrics such as wool or fleece being better at trapping heat. The addition of a thermal lining to these curtains makes them better insulators.

Research conducted by the University of Salford suggested that you can reduce heat loss from blinds by 13-14 percent, and curtains from 15-17 percent by drawing them at dusk. 

The research also showed that heat loss through windows can be reduced by as much as 25 percent by using properly installed thermal curtains.

Anthony says: “Remember to close your curtains at dusk to keep the warmth in and open them during sunny days to allow natural heating. But don’t put them in front of radiators or you’ll trap heat behind them which would be wasteful. 

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“You don’t have to spend hundreds of pounds on curtains either, with marketplaces such as eBay offering huge choices for significantly cheaper than high street or named brands”. 

Window film and insulator kits

Heat loss in cold climates can be reduced by using Low-Emissivity (Low-E) window films – transparent layers that can be applied directly to your windows.

Window films reduce heat loss by creating an insulating barrier, and are particularly useful for single-glazed windows, or where it isn’t possible to upgrade to trip-glazing.

They can be fitted at home, applying a plastic shrink film to the indoor window frame with double-sided tape, then using a hairdryer to shrink the film – removing wrinkles and creating an airtight barrier.

Although energy retention values vary depending on the type of film, manufacturer and cost, it’s claimed that 30 percent of a room’s heat can be reflected back into the room by a conventional low-e window film.

You can purchase packs from retailers such as Amazon for as little as £5, meaning these are a relatively quick and cheap solution for extra window insulation.

Use foam tape and draught excluders

Heat loss can increase by 5-8 percent if it’s windy outside. Foam tape is a cost-effective and easy solution for sealing gaps in doors and window frames – with the Energy Saving Trust estimating a typical household could save £90 a year by properly draught-proofing their home.

To prevent draughts effectively, choose weather-stripping foam tape that’s self-adhesive for ease of application, then measure and cut the tape to fit the specific size of the gaps in your windows and doors.

Bubble wrap

Although perhaps not the most stylish solution, bubble wrap can serve as a super cheap and temporary insulator for your windows.

The air pockets in bubble wrap trap heat, acting as insulators. To apply bubble wrap to your windows, mist water onto the window glass and press the flat side of the bubble wrap against it.

Make a draught snake

A draught snake is a fabric tube filled with insulating material such as rice or old clothing. It is best to place them at the base of doors or windows to prevent cold air from entering.

The fact they can be made at home from old clothing or towels make them a sustainable and cost-effective solution.

Everest’s Anthony Threlfall says: “If you added all these energy loss reductions together, it is going to help anyone on a tight budget to save some money this winter. These DIY energy saving hacks will help you to turn down your thermostat to make some savings on your energy bills.”

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