Its that time of year again….. Beat the Winter Chills…

27 November 2007

Its that time of year again…..Beat the Winter Chills….and reduce your carbon output! Every year our national energy consumption rockets as soon as the first frosts arrive. Its early November and right on queue here they come! The natural first reaction is to turn on the central heating (if you haven’t already) turn up the thermostat, spend more time indoors (with the heating on!) hunker down for the big chill. BUT….is it all really necessary?

The most immediate side effect of ramping up the heating is that we all notice that our winter fuel consumption goes through the roof, and sometimes literally! But advice is at hand to help us to reduce the fuel consumption spike and thereby to help reduce our carbon footprint. In this day and age where we understand the issues and more importantly where we feel the pain of those bills perhaps a more enlightened approach to coping with the winter freeze is in order. To help us get started lets look at some of the options available.

Insulate your home It may not seem glamorous or exciting but according to the Energy Saving Trust an incredible 50 per cent of all household heat is lost through the roof and walls, and a further 20 per cent is lost to drafts. The good news is that most of this can be stopped quite easily.

Lag your loft Amongst all the remedies for loosing heat, this is the most beneficial. Its cheap to install, its effective and you can do it yourself. The most common form of insulation is mineral wool. Be sure to wear protective mask and gloves as this insulation can be itchy. It comes in rolls and its as simple as unrolling the stuff and fitting it between the joists in the loft. current building regulations stipulate a minimum thickness of 170mm, but aim for 250mm to increase the insulation. The more heat that you can stop leaving via the roof, the less you will need to turn on your central heating.
Hot water tank. If this and the pipes leading to and from it are wrapped in insulation there will be a reduced demand on the energy needed to maintain it at your preferred temperature.

Cavity-wall insulation. This job requires professional input. It’s not hard to do but specialist equipment is needed. The process involves drilling holes in the outside walls and injecting insulating materials. This will be a very effective way of reducing loss of heat from the home (by 50 or 60%) and hence is a very crucial method of improving the heat efficient properties of your house.
For detailed information about cavity wall insulation Contact the Energy Saving Trust (0800 512 012; www.energysavingtrust.org.uk) who will advise you on the process and on certified specialists who can install it for you.
Quick wins are to be had by fitting draft excluders To doors, windows and letterboxes. So many homes are well heated but are loosing a considerable amount of this heat by having draughty windows or letter box’s cat flaps stuck open and so on. Do a check and make sure as many sources as draught are shut off. Remember that a draught actually sucks the warm air out. It may be pleasant for the migrating birds passing over your house to feel the warm up draught from your central heating but its much better to keep all the heat inside the house!
Windows If you haven’t already got double glazing perhaps you should be thinking about having this fitted. It adds value to your home and helps reduce heat loss. This is a capital expense so obviously its not the sort of improvement to undertake lightly. But if you are in a position to have this done the payback will be significant not only in terms of heat efficiency but is likely to help you to sell your house when you come to move.
Finally, if you are lucky enough to have a fireplace or stove in the house, use it!. Wood burning is considered carbon neutral and the warmth of a real flame certainly can make a cold room into a comfy haven.

 

 

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