There's growing concern about price rises from British energy companies. Here are cheap ways to save money when heating your house.
Householders are regularly being advised to install double glazing, thorough insulation and overhaul their inefficient heating system. But apart from those often expensive tactics, what can be done cheaply and quickly to keep your house warm?
1. Use tin foil. One way to prevent unnecessary heat loss from radiators, particularly on those attached to external walls, is to use heat reflective aluminium foil behind the radiator. This prevents heat disappearing through the wall by reflecting it back into the room, says Sophie Neuburg, energy campaigner for charity Friends of the Earth. Foil specially designed for the purpose can be bought for under £10. "You can even use good quality kitchen foil," says Carl Brennand, assistant manager of website Moneymagpie, although it's generally not as effective.
2. Thick curtains are one of the main ways to protect your house from losing heat through the windows. Curtains with a thermal lining are a relatively cheap option, says Brennand. "The thicker the better," adds Archna Luthra, consumer analyst at moneysavingexpert.com. If you don't want to splash out on new curtains you can line them yourself with materials like cheap fleece, says Brennand. "You can even use PVC shower curtains," he suggests. And it's not just windows that can have curtains. Placing a curtain in front of doors to the outside adds another layer of protection. And it doesn't even need to be a curtain. "My gran used to have an old rug that she used to pin up over the back of the front door," says interior designer Claire Potter.
3. But let the sunlight in during the day. It's important to try to use as much natural - and free - heat (in the form of sunlight) as possible. Window shades and curtains should be kept open during the day, advise Age UK. Closing your curtains as soon as dusk falls will maximise your house's potential to retain that heat.
4. Double glazing is heat-efficient but it's relatively costly. If you can't afford it, why not fake it? "There's a special film that you can put across [single-glazed] windows" that can imitate the same effect, albeit to a lesser degree, says Neuburg. You can attach the film to the window frame using double-sided tape and then fix it using a hairdryer, she says. There's a downside. You won't be able to open your windows without breaking the seal. But a pack to cover a medium-sized house would be about £15, estimates Potter, so it could just be redone from time to time. Potter, who has no heating system in her house, says one batch of film has lasted about two or three years as she has small windows. Alternatively, self-adhesive foam strips can help seal any gaps in the edges of windows. Metal or plastic strips with brushes or wipers attached cost a bit more but will last longer as a result, according to the Energy Saving Trust. These can also be used as draught excluders around the hinges and frames of doors.
Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24757144