With winter well on its way, and energy bills rising, we’ve come up with plenty of sensible advice on how to get warm in a cold room and heat your home cheaply.
Before you do anything else, make sure that you’re not throwing money away on warming up a cold room, only to allow the heat to escape. We’ve compiled a list of places where it’s likely you’ll find a draught and easy ways to fix the problem.
The first thing you can do if you’re hoping to heat your home cheaply is examine your existing arrangement. Most people have heaters or radiators but, if they’re hidden behind heavy furniture, or below an always open window, then you’re just wasting money as they won’t be effective at warming up a cold room.
Touch the radiator when the heating’s on and, if it’s hot at the top but warm to cool at the base, then it’s likely that air has been trapped inside and they’re not working as efficiently as possible. To fix this problem, all you need to do is bleed your radiator, then ask a professional to check your boiler regularly – preferably before there’s a problem. You could also insert reflective material behind the radiator to bounce the heat back into the room – ordinary tin foil is a good budget alternative!
It seems obvious, but a lot of heat can be lost via windows – even when they’re closed. Check yours simply by feeling for cold air, or by using a candle. Hold the flame up against the window seals, and if it flickers, that’s the sign of air – and your hard-earned money – escaping!
The solution, happily, is a simple one. Buy some draught-proof adhesive strips and place them along the edge of the windows to seal up any gaps and help warm up the cold room. If you have trickle vents, ensure they’re closed, too. Then go around the rest of the house examining door frames, cat flaps, and letterboxes, as they’re also often other culprits when it comes to letting in cold air.
You may live in an older house with an original fireplace and chimney, and even if you don’t use it, it can still be a potential source of heat loss. To prevent draughts, you can buy specially designed balloons which you inflate in the chimney breast, to block out the cold. However, you must remove them if you want to light a real fire. If you don’t plan on ever using your chimney again, then consider blocking it up permanently. Make sure you get it professionally cleaned first, and cap off the top to prevent anything from falling inside and becoming trapped.
If you have a gas or electric fire, you may find there are drafts around the vents. These can be blocked when the fires are not in use but must be left open for safety and ventilation when you use the fire.
If you feel draughts are coming in from up above, then ask a professional to check whether you have loose tiles or slates. If possible, go into your attic or loft and check for gaps. Remember, a lagged loft space will be naturally cold, as your home’s heat should be trapped below the lagging.
You’ll also be able to tell if your roof is properly insulated when it snows. If you still see snow on your roof after a day of having the heating on, it means the warmth is still in the house. If the snow has melted, it’s a sign your roof is warm, and, as hot air rises, it’s likely your house is not properly insulated and you’re wasting energy.
Those retro snake-like cushions are making a comeback, as they are an effective way to stop cold air creeping under your doors. They’re a great way to keep the heat in your home cheaply. You can buy them in any high street interior shop for under £10 or if you’re feeling in a Blue Peter do-it-yourself mood, create your own.
Cut off the arm of an old jumper, or the leg of a pair of trousers or tights. Stuff the sausage shape with any soft filling, like toy wadding, old clothes, socks, or tights, then sew up the ends or use iron-on adhesive tape. Some people also add dried peas or rice to keep them rigid.
The best way to keep your home warm is to insulate the room. EDF Energy has published a guide to keeping your home warm in winter, and they estimate “10-20% of heat loss from a building can be through the floors if they’re not insulated”. That translates to about £40-£65 on an average energy bill every quarter. You could save a fortune!
The best thing about preventing heat loss by laying carpet and underlay is that it’s a low-to-no-maintenance option. You just fit, then forget, and reap the rewards.
Once you’ve chosen the carpet of your dreams, you can look forward to spending less on your energy bills each month, as well as the anticipation of a well-decorated home. Just imagine coming in from the cold and damp and having the extra comfort and softness of sinking your toes into a deep and luxurious carpet. As Tapi are the experts in reassuringly simple flooring, you can be sure you’ll find something to suit your taste and budget with us.
Underlay’s like underwear – you don’t see it, but you’d miss it if it wasn’t there! Great insulation starts with good underlay. It adds a layer of softness and comfort, it reduces sound but most importantly it helps with keeping warmth in a cold room.
We sell a wide selection of carpet underlay in a variety of densities and thicknesses, so you can combine it with the carpet or vinyl above to keep your rooms snug and cosy. Our Tapi floorologists will be delighted to help you choose the right underlay to suit your home.
Ground-floor insulation in older homes can reduce floor heat loss by up to 92 percent, according to an experiment conducted by the University of Sheffield and University College, London.
Up to 10 million houses that were built before World War II could benefit from this simple improvement.
Before 1939, houses were constructed with wooden floors which had a small gap underneath for air to circulate. But without adequate insulation, they can often attract damp and then mould.
They were also designed to have open fires burning in all rooms, so they are notoriously draughty too even if you have installed central heating.
The research showed that underfloor insulation, either in the form of beads injected into the floor gap, or filling in the gap between the joints reduced heat loss by a minimum of 65% and in some cases as high as 92%.
This is a cost-effective way of reducing energy consumption and saving on bills. A project like this shouldn’t cost too much to do, just ensure you don’t affect your house’s natural circulation and cause more damp issues than you are trying to prevent! Make sure you avoid filling in house bricks, for instance.
As well as benefitting from lower bills and a warmer house, you will also find you’ve future-proofed your home, as you’ll have improved your EPC ratings – as well as protecting the planet, this is worth considering when you come to sell,
A fully furnished room will contain textiles of all kinds – think curtains, blinds, blankets, throws, bedding, cushions, and rugs. All of these can be cleverly used to make the room warmer and crucially, look and feel more cosy.
When the weather turns cold, change your duvet for one with a higher tog rating or one that’s made of hollow fibre. That’ll mean it retains the heat better during the winter. Invest in some brushed cotton sheets, which are warm to the touch. If you want to, buy an electric blanket to take the chill off getting into a cold bed. Then you could add extra blankets, throws, and cuddly cushions on top to create a cocooning atmosphere.
Even if you’ve taken our advice and got rid of any window draughts, you might want to invest in a heavier set of curtains, particularly with a thermal lining. They will trap in the warm air in any room, keep out the cold and provide a welcoming vibe. In the summer or during a heatwave, it’s not necessary to remove them, as you can keep out the warm weather by closing your curtains during the day and then opening them when the temperature outside drops.
During the cost of energy crisis, Moneysaving Expert Martin Lewis recommends we “heat the human, not the home”. It’s much more efficient and it costs nothing, he says, to put on another jumper.
Martin suggests layering up with thermal socks, vests, and even leggings, then adding thin, cotton clothing or wool knits so that the warm air your body generates isn’t lost. You could also wear a woolly hat, an oversized hoodie, or blankets with sleeves if you want to snuggle up on the sofa without turning up your thermostat.
You don’t need to heat guest bedrooms, spare rooms, or anywhere that doesn’t get a lot of use until they’re occupied. So turn off the radiator, then shut the curtains and doors when the room is empty. Ensure your home’s thermostat isn’t in the guest room as it will click on even if the rest of the house is warm enough.
According to psychologists, we register colours and textures as ‘hot’ or ‘cold.’ For instance, white and blue are considered ‘colder’ than red or hot pink (the clue’s in the name there!). And while darker shades absorb heat, lighter ones reflect it. Why not use a few interior design tricks to fool yourself, your family, or guests into believing the room is warm?
Think about what furnishings you’d like to include (see above), and veer towards fabrics that are lovely to touch or snuggle into, like faux fur, mohair, or velvet. Add some ‘warmer’ smells like a pumpkin or cinnamon-scented candle, which evoke feelings of homely baking indoors. Darker colours like the incorporation of brown carpet also makes people feel snug and ramp up the drama while you’re staying inside.
Visit your local Tapi to see our gorgeous collections of carpets and underlays that’ll make your home look even lovelier and warm up a cold room, or discover some tips on how to reduce heat loss through your floor.