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6 top tips to stay warm this winter

According to the Energy Savings Trust, four in ten of us avoid switching our heating on during colder spells due to fears of high energy bills. A third of people also say they can’t make their homes as warm as they like.

The simple answer is to layer your clothing. After all, it’s easier to change your body temperature than the temperature of a room and also more eco-friendly.

Trouble is, sometimes even high-quality thermals, big cosy jumpers and a good pair of slippers just won’t cut it. If your home is cold, you’re not going to be comfortable and could even end up unwell.

Below we’ve shared 6 tips you can follow to stay warm this winter, without spending a fortune on central heating.

How to keep your house warm without central heating bills skyrocketing

1. Draught-proof your home

You’ll be surprised how many people forget to draught-proof their homes and then wonder why they’re freezing in the winter.

If your home has a draught, it’s time to patch it up. Fill in any gaps around windows and doors. It’ll not only make your rooms warmer but also help you save on your energy bills, as it’ll stop heat escaping out as easily.

There are all sorts of draught-proofing products available, from tapes and sprays to cushion-like products that you can place at the bottom of your doors. It’s worth spending a few pounds at your local DIY store to make your home more comfortable.

If you’re not on a tight budget and your home is particularly cold, you may want to consider getting loft or wall insulation. You’ll need to call in a professional to take a look. Be sure to gather a few quotes to get a fair price.

Just as a side note, if you haven’t already, invest in a thicker pair of curtains. They’ll make such a difference to the temperature of your home. Consider closing them when you leave the house, to keep the heat in but remember to open them on any sunny days to take advantage of the extra warmth.

2. Get your pipework insulated

Insulating your hot water pipes is quick, easy and will make such a difference to your home. Along with preventing excessive heat loss and helping you lower your energy bills, it will also stop your pipes from freezing in the winter. You can buy pipe lagging (foam tubes) for your hot water pipes from most DIY stores. It’s easy to fit and will only take a matter of seconds, with no tools required.

Pipe lagging will keep your water heated up for longer and prevent pipes from getting blocked with ice in the winter. This will go a long way in stopping your pipes from bursting so you can enjoy a stress-and-mess-free winter!

As a side tip: if you have any spare foam pipe lagging, you could always use it as a door draught excluder. Simply cut it to size and slide it along the bottom of your door.

3. Bleed your radiators

Do your radiators feel cold even when you’ve got your central heating on? Chances are they probably need bleeding. This is the process of releasing trapped air from your central heating system, as it will be preventing the hot water from rising.

All you’ll need is a radiator key and a bucket. Simple loosen the valve at the top of your radiator and place the bucket underneath. You’ll hear a hissing noise, which is the air being released from your radiator. Some water may also expel from your system, which you can catch in the bucket. Once the water starts to appear, close up the valve and the job is done.

Bleeding your radiators regularly to release trapped air will help your central heating system run more efficiently and ensure you stay warm this winter.

While we’re on the topic of radiators, we’d also suggest creating a reflector to make sure they’re heating your rooms, rather than just your walls. To do this, simply cover a thin sheet of card with a piece of kitchen foil and place it behind your radiators. This will reflect the heat away from your radiators back into your rooms, so they heat up faster and retain heat for longer.

4. Make sure you’ve set your boiler controls properly

Using a room thermostat can go a long way in helping you heat your home more efficiently. We’d suggest making sure it is set somewhere between 18°C and 21°C. If your rooms fall below this temperature, the thermostat will turn your heating on automatically. Once the desired temperature is reached, the thermostat will turn off your central heating, keeping your costs to the bare minimum. You’ll need to make sure the timer is set up on your room thermostat for this to work effectively.

  1. Get your boiler and central heating serviced
    We’d always suggest getting your boiler and central heating serviced in the summer. Gas engineers aren’t usually as busy in the warmer months of the year and may offer the service at a discount. It’s also a good way to ensure your boiler is adequately prepared to heat your home throughout the winter.

If you haven’t managed to get your boiler and central heating serviced in the summer don’t panic. Simply book a winter service instead.

Getting your boiler and central heating serviced in the winter will give you peace of mind that your system is working safely and efficiently. If the gas engineer identifies any small problems, they’ll be able to fix them so that they don’t cause a home emergency, like your boiler breaking down on a very cold day!

If your boiler is old (over 10 years in age), it will be far less efficient than a newer model. Your gas engineer may suggest that you consider replacing your boiler to benefit from greater efficiency and cost-savings, which can be significant.

6. Take out boiler cover

If your boiler isn’t covered by warranty or any existing home insurance policies, you should think about taking out boiler cover this winter.

If something goes wrong, simply ring up your insurance provider and they’ll send out a Gas Safe engineer to fix your broken boiler within a matter of hours. It’ll save you a lot of stress and money, as all of the labour and repair costs will be covered. What’s more, many policies include free annual boiler servicing, so you’ll be saving money there too.

Boiler breakdown insurance tends to only cover your broken boiler and its controls. If you would rather get cover for your wider central heating system, including your radiators, choose heating cover instead. Use online tools to compare boiler cover and central heating cover to make sure you get the best price.

While you’re here, why not take a look at our boiler, central heating and home care plans for homeowners or landlords?

Boiler broken in winter?

If you don’t have a boiler or central heating insurance policy, you’ll need to get in touch with a qualified gas engineer to take a look at your boiler to identify and fix the problem. Do not attempt any repairs yourself as this could put both you and those living in your home at risk.

Heat is broken in house

If the central heating is broken in your house, you’ll need to get a Gas Safe registered engineer to fix it for you. In the meantime, keep warm by wrapping up in thick clothing and using alternative heating methods, such as a fire (if you’ve got a fireplace or log burner) or electric space heaters.

Never use things like camping stoves and gas burners that are intended for outdoor use, inside. Using them in enclosed spaces can create a build-up of highly concentrated carbon monoxide, which can be fatal.

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