Across the West Coast of Scotland, October is traditionally when the colder air and drop in temperature starts to creep into our homes.
So what can we do to keep our homes warm this winter?
1 - Heat Reflection
It is a relatively cheap method of keeping the heat your radiator produces inside the home. Radiator insulation foil helps you to save money on your energy bills. There are loads of suppliers and manufacturers of insulation reflective foil and it is a cost effective DIY job if you are looking for ways to cut down on your energy bills and keep your house warm.
2 - Move your sofa and other energy 'sapping' objects
How many of you have a sofa right in front of a radiator? It may seem like a good idea but all you are doing is letting the couch absorb the radiators heat that would otherwise be warming the rest of your home. By moving it (and other energy blocking things like drying clothes) you are letting hot air circulate more freely in the room.
3 - Close the curtains at night and keep them open during the day
It may seem obvious but the sun is pretty hot and is a great free way of heating your home. Let as much sunshine into your home during the day but as soon as it gets dark and the temperature begins to drop, get those curtains closed and 'trap' that free heat you have built up in the house. So many of us only close the curtains at night just before we go to bed. Windows are a great place for heat to escape. Get those curtains closed earlier to trap more energy and keep your home warm.
4 - Thicker Curtains
Okay so we admit that this one can be a bit costly but thick heavy curtains with a reflective lining are a lot better at keeping the heat in your home from escaping than thin, light curtains you can find ready made at certain high street stores. If you are serious about keeping heat from escaping out your windows (especially if they are not double glazed) then thicker curtains are the way forward.
5 - Draught blocking
The older your house, the more draughts you will have. Across the various homes of Renfrewshire, Paisley and the West Coast, there is a hundred plus years worth of home construction styles. And while the older homes in the area, with their beautiful original wooden doors look lovely, they have a lot of gaps to let the Scottish winter wind push in and reduce the heat of your home. On a windy night, you can go around the home with a sheet of kitchen paper or a candle (be careful) and hunt down the draughts in skirting boards, around doors, windows and floors. One area of draught blocking that you may not think about is the chimney. If you have a fireplace that is not used but hasn't been blocked off, it may be an easy place for heat to escape. You can buy something called a 'Chimney Balloon' quite cheaply to block the fireplace or even just fill a bin bag with some old newspaper shreddings. Though just be careful that doing this won't create additional problems with damp build up if the chimney is not capped at the top.
6 - Shut the door
Keeping internal doors closed in your home will prevent the cold air of other rooms (and draughts) from roaming around. You can even get a spring door closer if you simply can't break the habit of closing the door.
7 - Open the door
Completely opposite to closing internal doors of your home, there is one door you should consider leaving open a bit longer. Your oven door. If you have just used the oven to cook dinner then your oven is probably sitting at between 180 & 200ºC. Leave the door open for a few minutes and let the hot air flow through the kitchen and warm up the room. Obviously be careful when doing this around children, pets and if you have just cooked something like fish in the oven.
8 - Shut the vents
So this is technically a draught issue but its something you can control, so we have kept it separate. If you have PVC doors and windows then there is a high chance that at the top of the door/window is a vent slot often called a 'Trickle Vent'. It is so easy to forget about them but if they are wide open, they can let a huge amount of cold air into your home. If you can, shut them in the cold windy winter months to control the draught in your home and kep your home warm.
9 - Bleed the radiators
You were probably wondering when we would start talking about boilers and your central heating system. Well that time has arrived. Radiators can build up with air over a period of time if they are not serviced or checked regularly. That air build up is reducing your radiators efficieny and reducing the heat in your home. It makes your boiler have to work harder for longer and therefore can increase your energy bills. Bleed your radiators and make them work more efficiently fora warmer home.
10 - A more efficient boiler
A modern, efficient boiler will reduce your energy bills. It will produce heat quicker and more efficiently which means your home will get warmer more efficiently. While a new boiler is an investment, it is a positive investment that will see a return. If you are intending on staying in your home for a long time, then a new energy efficient boiler is a very cost effective way of keeping your home warm and reducing your energy bills.
And there you have it. Ten ways to keep your home warmer. If you live in Renfrewshire, Ayrshire or the West Coast of Scotland, then take advantage of as many or as few of these ten tips to keep your home warmer this winter.