Oily rag ed – It costs plenty to heat the air in your home, so don’t waste it. In colder climates the winter heating bill can be horrendous. Just under half (42% on average to be exact) of all household heat is lost through the ceiling, so insulate this first. Many older homes have no insulation at all. In others, the insulation is inadequate – either because earlier building requirements specified only a thin layer, or because the insulation material may have shrunk of shifted. Ceiling insulation material needs to be 100mm to 150mm thick to be effective. It also needs to be airtight, so there are no sneaky leaks.
Walls account for 24% of lost heat, but there are more difficult to insulate unless you are building a new home or extensively renovating. One way to insulate is to use gib board to reline the interior walls.
Raised wooden floors can also be a problem. It is estimated that 12% of heat loss is through the floor. Wood fibre insulation board and floor coverings are an effective way of minimizing heat loss through the floor. Another alternative is to fit insulation below the floor – cardboard can be stapled between floor joists, creating an insulated layer of air.
Eliminate draughts around windows and floors. Well-made, full-length curtains or thermal drapes are a simple answer to heat loss through windows. Thick, heavy fabrics are the most efficient. Light materials should be lined. Because a lot of air is lost around the edges, the curtains should extend 150mm on each side, and below the base of the window. A full pelmet is recommended. Heavy drapes are more heat efficient than blinds. About 12% of the heat of a household is lost through windows. Scout around for a cheap material that could save on your heating costs.
Making your own “stop draught sausages” can eliminate door draughts. This is a fabric sausage filled with sand or sawdust. These sneaky heat hounds develop a personality of their own by adding buttons as eyes (an excellent family project).
Leaky window and door joinery can be sealed with sealants or a self-adhesive foam strip.
Close up rooms that are not use din wintertime. Close up fireplaces that are seldom or never used.
In really cold climates, consider double-glazing windows and glass doors. The investment will pay for itself by reducing heating costs (and for those situated in noisy environments it will deal to that problem as well).
A wood burning coal range or potbelly stove is a cheap way to heat your home and a great way to save on cooking costs.
Warm a bed rather than a bedroom. Electric blankets are very cheap to run and hot water bottles even cheaper.
A think layer of newspaper under mats keeps the room warmer in winter and makes the carpet last longer.