Winter’s nearly over, right? Think again. Don’t forget the Beast from the East struck in March last year. We still have a ways to go before we start to enjoy warmer weather again. We’ve come up with a few tips to help you keep warm over the next few weeks, and beyond. These improvements will also help your Building Energy Rating (BER).
After a number of years the sealant around doors and windows can become worn down and even torn. This allows cold air from outside to come in. Replacing this sealant is generally a simple and cheap DIY job and it will make a big difference. (Extra tip: holding a lit incense stick around the window is a great way of finding hidden air leaks)
Cold air and drafts can also come in through the gaps around pipes and gas lines as they enter your house. Often you may find that these gaps will have been sealed with weather stripping, similar to your windows. However a more effective way of sealing these gaps is with expanding foam. Not only will this help to keep the heat in; it will also help keep unwanted pests out.
Up to 35% of your home’s heat can be lost through your external walls. Insulating your walls properly will help prevent this. Find out which insulation would suit your home best:
Cavity Wall Insulation
A cavity wall is made up of two separate walls with a gap or ‘cavity’ in between. This cavity offers a great opportunity to insulate your walls. Insulation is pumped into the cavity through small holes drilled in the wall.
External Wall Insulation
If your walls have no cavity this may be the best option. It can also be done in addition to cavity wall insulation. A layer of insulation is applied to the exterior of your home before being covered and weather-proofed.
Internal Wall Insulation
Where cavity or external insulation is not possible you may look to this option. This typically involves fixing insulation boards to the inside of external walls, before covering them with vapour control paper & plaster board.
Insulating your attic and floor will help prevent a further loss of 30% of heat. Installing all of this insulation can be quite expensive. However there are grants available from SEAI, to help you improve your insulation. It may be worth researching this as you could improve your Building Energy Rating, saving you on your energy bills and ultimately increasing your property value.
Home Heating & Thermostat
Once you’re happy that your home is well-insulated you should think about how you’re going to heat your home. Between choosing the right fuel and the right energy provider, it may be the right time of year to start shopping around and price-checking the alternatives and comparing them to your current providers.
You can also be vigilant about your thermostat and heating settings. Turning down your thermostat by just one degree can be enough to save you some money on your energy bill. Most energy providers recommend keeping your thermostat between 17 or 18 degrees. Installing a smart thermostat, which you can control from your smartphone, is perhaps the best way to keep on top of this.
Get your boiler checked. This tip gets a lot of airtime but it’s worth heeding. Your boiler should checked and serviced by a qualified and certified professional at least once a year. This will keep your boiler working in good, efficient and safe condition.
Check the details of your Home Insurance policy to make sure you are properly covered for winter.