Tips to make your home more energy efficient

Draughts let cold air from the outside, and into warmer rooms from cold rooms within the home. Draughts can be reduced with relatively simple inexpensive measures;

  • Draught seal around window and door openings.
  • Fit draught strips to the bottom of the doors, fit internal letterbox covers.
  • If possible, hang heavy curtains on windows and doors.
  • Use plastic or clear film secondary glazing to cut draughts and heat loss in window areas.
  • It is important that draught strips should be fixed securely to the bottom of doors.
  • Ventilation ducts and bricks should not be blocked up, especially in rooms with gas or open fires. They ensure circulation of some fresh air.

Heat is always escaping through the structure of the house: the roof, windows, doors and walls. Insulation and double glazing will reduce the rate of heat loss, keeping your home warmer and helping to reduce energy bills.

Loft – You should insulate your loft as hot air rises and most heat escapes in this direction. A 270mm thickness of insulation quilt is recommended. Many older houses may have no insulation at all in the loft, or less than the recommended amount.

Walls – Older houses with a cavity wall may benefit from having insulation material injected into the cavity.

Doors & Windows – In the evening and at night, close your curtains to reduce heat loss. Double glazing or secondary glazing will keep rooms warmer (and quieter) Lagging Hot Water Cylinders &

Pipes – Energy may be going to waste in your home if the hot water system is not properly insulated. A jacket to insulate the hot water cylinder can be bought quite cheaply and is usually easy to fit –the jacket should have a British Standards “Kite mark” on the label. Newer hot water cylinders are supplied with insulation already in place. Hot water pipes can be lagged to prevent heat escaping. Exposed pipes in the roof space, or other areas where they may freeze in cold weather, should also be lagged.

The ideal living room temperature for older people is 21◦ C (70◦F). This is not simply a question of comfort. Once room temperatures start to drop, the threat to health is greater, and the risk of respiratory illness, stroke, heart attack and hypothermia increase. Whatever the heating system, try to make sure that your main living room is kept at this temperature while you are using it.

  • Make sure you know how the controls work on your heaters or heating system.
  • Set the thermostat controls for each heater or central heating radiators to maintain room temperatures at 21◦ C (70◦ F) during the periods you are using them.
  • Don’t let rooms get too hot. Adjust the heating controls if they do. Don’t open windows as heat will be released too quickly.
  • Set your timer to bring heating on automatically in living rooms about half an hour before you get up.
  • In very cold weather set the timer to bring heating on earlier. The bedroom should be warmed before going to bed

This information has been provided by the National Health Service. For further advice call Free phone 0800 085 7000.

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