Winter is coming. No, there is still time for the next season of Game of Thrones. What I do mean is UK will have a truly frosty Winter this year and it’s coming. Soon! According to some forecasts and predictions, the 2015/2016 Winter will be really heavy on the snow. Yes, snow in London, that’s what I just said! And before all of you start dreaming of a fairy tale Christmas, ask yourself one question – do you winterise your home? By doing so, not only you will save energy, but you will protect your home from any harm that Winter brings.
11 Tips to Winterise Your House
1. Cover Your Threshold
Drafts can waste up to 30% of the energy you use for heating your home. Yes, that is actually quite a lot. A simple bath towel beneath every outside door will do the trick, but you can get creative and stylish about this and think of an alternative that will look better. Just pick a towel that matches the door colours, put some googly eyes on it and you have a very kid-friendly solution to Winter energy costs for your house. If you are not into DIY stuff, Amazon offers a commercial solution to the problem.
2. Clean or change your Furnace/Air Conditioner filters
If you live in a flat, maybe an air conditioner is all you need for Winter warming. In that case, it is important to thoroughly clean the filters before the season. Not only it will operate more efficiently, but it will smell nicely as well. To do so, just detach the outer hood and remove the filters. Usually no special instruments are needed. Clean them with water only. To get rid of the smell, spray some degreasing agent like Medix on the pipes just behind the filters and let the conditioner run for 15 minutes on cold settings. Wait for it to dry, attach the filters and you are done.
If you have a furnace in your home, make sure to change and clean the air filters every month. Dirty filters will reduce the efficiency and demand more energy. You can think of switching to a permanent filter or a HEPA filter. Consider ordering a professional tune up before the season starts, so you can remove any unexpected issue your furnace might have.
3. Clean your gutters and inspect your roof
Of course we would get to the gutters. If there are any debris there before it starts snowing, you’re in for trouble. Any clogs will be an obstacle for the rain and melting snow to drain. Ice blocks will form and you’ll be risking damaging your whole guttering system. Needless to say, if you’re in a need of professional gutter cleaning help, give us a call. You should also inspect your roof for any weak spots. If there is heavy snowing, the snow will accumulate and, if heavy enough, might break your roof, making a bigger hole for Santa Claus to drop his presents.
4. Check and caulk your window sills
Another area where you might lose heating energy are the window sills. A simple gap can increase your bill by 5% to 30% a year. This makes the alternative of caulking and weatherstripping them much more rewarding. A smart trick is to light a candle from the inside and have someone blow a hair dryer from the outside of the windows. Where the candle flickers, you have gaps to fill.
5. Insulate your attic
Hot air is lighter and travels upwards. That’s why if your attic is not properly insulated, you will be losing a lot of warm air through it. It’s best to call someone to check it, as there are tricky parts you may not find on your own.
6. Insulate your pipes
This will benefit in you two ways. Firstly, hot water will remain hotter since outside temperatures won’t affect it that much. On the other hand, insulation will prevent your pipes from freezing which, we can’t stress this enough, is really bad for your household. The best way to insulate your pipes is placing a pre-slit pipe foam that you can find in the hardware stores. Cut it to size, tighten it with duct tape, and you are done.
7. Run fans in reverse
This might sound a bit stupid, but if you have fans in your home and run them in reverse (which should be clockwise), they will push the hot air to the bottom, leaving you with warm feet. Since warm feet is equal to eternal happiness, you can change your whole attitude just by the click of a button.
8. Spray WD-40 in your keyholes
This will prevent them from freezing in the cold Winter months. Don’t be too generous on the WD, 3-4 drops would be sufficient.
9. Turn off the water supply to the outside
If you have a hose connected, drain it and remove it from the spigot. Then turn off the valve and leave it to drain by itself. If you suddenly don’t get the urge to make an ice pond in your backyard, refrain from using the outside pipes.
10. Lower your central heating
If the forecast predicts freezing temperatures, adjust your central heating to 12C-15C. If it is much higher it may choke. This way you guarantee the system won’t freeze and will operate properly. If 15C is too low for you, just go grab another sweater.
11. Clean the chimney
This move won’t save you extra energy, it is just common sense. You don’t want any debris to set your house on fire or return deadly carbon monoxide back to your home, do you? A single cleaning should cost around £50, as much as a monthly home insurance.
If you have the money and the will, you can always outdo your neighbours by installing the award winning glass roof tiles that capture solar energy and transform it into a heating system for your home during the winter.
SolTech Energy, a Swedish company selling solutions for clean solar power, has developed a unique home heating system contained within roofing tiles made out of ordinary transparent glass. The tiles are made of ordinary glass and weight as much as the clay ones.
All they require is a cloudless weather and they can generate up to 350 kWh heat per square meter. They are installed on a black nylon canvas that absorbs the sun rays and heats the empty air sockets beneath it. The air itself heats up water that is connected to the house’s heating system. The beauty of the whole process is that even in gloomy days or night time, the air reserve is sufficient enough to continue to heat your home. That’s some impressive resourceless heating. And on top of that, it looks really cool from the outside.