Feeling the chill? How to be warmer at home this winter

Look after your boiler and it will pay dividends when it comes to staying warm during winter.
Look after your boiler and it will pay dividends when it comes to staying warm during winter.
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If you’re feeling the winter chill, there are ways to warm your Northampton home without facing bills that get you hot under the collar.

From beating draughts to accessing government grants, there are several ways you can stay a little more snuggly this winter…

If you want to make your house cosier during the cold months without cranking up the heating, there are some simple steps you can take.

Check your windows

If your house feels draughty, your windows could be to blame: inefficient or unsealed windows could make your energy bills spiral by up to 25 per cent.

You can check for draughts by standing next to your windows and seeing if it feels cooler there than the rest of the room, or another trick is to hold a lighted candle near your window frames to see where the flame flickers in the unseen breeze. If the glass is cold to touch and there are gaps in the frame, that’s a clear sign you are wasting energy.

You can tackle gaps yourself by sealing them with foam or caulk or enlist the help of a professional, or you might want to consider replacing your existing windows with energy-efficient ones to stop heat escaping and reduce your bills, making it worth the expense in the long run.

For a thriftier tip, look out for heavy or thermal curtains in the New Year sales to block out those draughts.

Insulation stations

According to the Energy Saving Trust, "there are many simple yet effective ways to insulate your home, which can significantly reduce heat loss while lowering your heating bills".

A quarter of heat is lost through the roof in an uninsulated home, which means that insulating your loft or attic is a simple but effective way to reduce heat loss; “loft insulation is effective for at least 40 years and it should pay for itself many times over,” say the trust.

It’s also worth some homeowners considering cavity wall insulation, as most homes built between 1920 and 1990 have a gap between internal and external walls. Filling that cavity with insulating mineral wool and foam means cold air stays out and warm air is kept in – which could save an average three-bedroom home up to £255 a year if it’s suitable for your home.

Get a grant

There is a decent amount of government funding available to help you implement energy-saving measures at home and therefore reduce our impact on the environment.

It’s worth checking out the grants on offer from the government, energy suppliers and local authorities, like the Warm Home Discount, which gives vulnerable residents £140 towards their energy bills in winter.

It is a rebate applied to your electricity bill between September and March (those on a pre-pay meter will receive a top-up voucher). People receiving pension credit and those on certain benefits should qualify; check whether you’re registered with an energy supplier who’s signed up to the scheme and contact them to find out more.

The government also gives Cold Weather Payments if you’re getting certain benefits or Support for Mortgage Interest: you could get £25 for each seven-day period when the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees Celsius or below between November and March.

Service your boiler

Show your boiler a little love now and again and it will pay dividends when it comes to staying toasty during winter. The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) recommends that homeowners have their boilers serviced annually: “not only will this ensure it’s running efficiently and safely for the year ahead, but it will also validate any manufacturer’s warranties you have on the appliance.”

An annual boiler service is essential, and Go Assist can help to make it a hassle-free maintenance job to tick off each year.

Regular maintenance helps lengthen the lifespan of your boiler and will minimise the risk of it breaking down when it’s icy outside, as it can be a serious matter.

“For the elderly, vulnerable or those with young children, ensuring you have a working boiler is a must for the months ahead,” says the institute. “While to most of us, the boiler breaking down is an inconvenience, for some, a lack of heating and hot water can have severe health and financial repercussions.”

And don’t forget, landlords are legally obliged to have a gas safety certificate and must ensure their boilers are running safely.

Go Assist offer a no fix, no fee guarantee to offer you trustworthy fixed price repairs without any hidden charges.