10 tips to keep your home warm this winter

Dec 21, 2022
10 tips to keep your home warm this winter
When winter arrives and the temperatures start to fall, turning up the heating is most people’s instinctive first move. But you may not be getting the most out of your central heating, which means you could be wasting heat and money.

So we’ve put together some tips to help you turn your home into a warm and cosy sanctuary – and save on your energy costs too.

1. Avoid the age-old problem of losing heat

Poor wall insulation, no double-glazing and gaps around windows and doors can all let out vital warmth. However, these are problems most commonly faced by those trying to heat older properties.

New-build homes are designed and built to keep in heat. With just a few adjustments, many owners say they can keep central heating usage to a minimum. That can deliver a huge financial saving year-on-year. For example, the latest figures show that a brand-new home could be up to 58% cheaper to run and save you up to £2,600 per year on your energy bills (1).


2. Draught-proof your doors and windows

Run your hand around a door frame and if you feel chilly air entering it’s time to fit a draught excluder – a pretty small job that can make a big difference.

If you have a fireplace you don’t use, you could also consider getting a chimney balloon. It simply self-inflates inside the chimney breast to plug the gap and stop any cold air from traveling down and into your room.


3. Open the curtains by day and close them at night

You might naturally think that shutting curtains will help to keep any draughts out. But during the day it’s best to keep them open. Even though we’re not basking in the heat of summer, it will still allow natural warmth from sunlight through. Once it gets dark, shut curtains again to keep the heat inside.

Curtains also have the happy knack of instantly making a room feel more cosy and snug.


4. Bleed your radiators

It sounds a bit drastic, but actually it’s one of easiest ways to make sure your central heating system is performing as it should.

Over time, air can sometimes enter the system. You can tell when it has by simply running your hand over the top part of a radiator when your heating is on. If it’s cool to the touch it means there’s pockets of air inside.

All you need to do is release the trapped air. Using a radiator key (about £1 in any DIY shop) you gently open the valve at the top by turning it anti-clockwise. You'll hear the air hiss as it escapes and as soon as you see a drip of water, close it again.

(When you’re opening the valve, it’s a good idea to have an old cloth or piece of kitchen roll ready to stop any water getting on to your walls or carpet.)

If you’d like to know more, you can see a useful step-by-step guide and video from British Gas here.


5. Add rugs and extra layers

Homes are a bit like us: the more layers they have, the warmer they’ll feel.

Adding extra soft furnishings to your rooms can make a real difference and save you money on your heating. Think throws, cushions, bedspreads, and even weighted blankets. They’ll brighten up your décor, create a cosy atmosphere and help you stay warm during cold nights without feeling tempted to turn your thermostat up.


6. Add some DIY insulation

There are quite a few little improvements you can make to your home insulation, without having to call in a costly team of experts.

  • Insulate any hot water pipes. You can do this by simply wrapping them with foam tubes. They’re available at any DIY store and fitting them is quick and easy – no tools required.
  • Use any spare foam pipe lagging as a door draught excluder. Simply cut a section to fit the bottom of your door then slide it in to form a tight seal against the floor.
  • Fill any cracks and gaps in walls or at the back of cupboards. Spray foam insulation is great for this kind of job. Just be sure to check the can and follow all the recommended safety precautions.
  • Fit foil insulation. Simply cover a thin sheet of card with aluminium foil and place it behind your radiators (if you're feeling particularly crafty you can make it T-shaped so it sits on your radiator brackets). It'll reflect the heat back into your rooms so they warm up faster and retain more heat.

According to the Energy Savings Trust, in an uninsulated home a quarter of heat is lost through the roof (2). So if you really want to take things up a level, call in the professionals to install loft insulation.

It’s also worth noting that all brand-new David Wilson homes use highly thermally efficient insulation and argon-filled double glazing as standard to let the heat in and keep the cold out.


7. Use residual oven heat

If you’re cooking a big meal like a Sunday roast, your oven will generate a lot of heat. So when you’ve finished cooking, why not leave the door open and let the hot air warm your home?

Of course, you should only do this if it’s safe to do so and there are no children around.


8. Don’t obstruct radiators

Placing a big sofa in front of a radiator means you simply end up heating the back of it, rather than the rest of the room. The trick is to place any major items of furniture close enough so you can feel the benefits of the heat, while still allowing space for all that lovely warm air to freely circulate.


9. Put your heating on a timer

If you’re not at home all day, you might not need to have the heating constantly on. You can set a timer on your thermostat or boiler so it comes on when you need it. For instance, you could get it to come on early in the morning so your home is warm when you wake up, turn it off for part of the day when you might be out and about, then back on in the evening.


10. Upgrade your boiler

Boiler technology is always improving, so if yours is over 10 years old, now might be a good time to consider replacing it with a new one.

Modern condensing boilers are more efficient because they recover exhaust flue gas heat and use it to warm up the central heating water. According to the Energy Saving Trust, if you live in a semi-detached house and replace an old G-rated boiler with a new A-rated condensing boiler including a programmer, room thermostat and thermostatic radiator controls (TRVs), you could save up to £540 a year (3).

As an added bonus, with a new boiler you’re far less likely to have any issues through the winter season.

The Government has also introduced a Boiler Upgrade Scheme. So if you’re considering replacing your old one with a heat pump or biomass boiler you could get financial help in the shape of a grant of up to £6,000. You can find out more about the scheme on the GOV.UK website here.


Enjoy life in an energy-efficient home

One of the best ways to make sure you stay warm and cosy is to choose a brand-new David Wilson home. It’s designed and built to give you and your family the pleasure of living in a spacious, light-filled, stylish and energy-efficient environment all year round.

(1) Indicative figures, based on HBF "Watt a Save" report published Oct 2022.
(2) Roof and loft insulation, Energy Saving Trust.
(3) Heating your home – Boilers, Energy Saving Trust.