Simple Ways To Prepare Your Home for Cold Weather And Save Instantly On Your Energy Bills
Looking for Winter energy-saving tips? There are many simple DIY jobs you can do to prepare your home for winter whilst taking the pressure off rising energy bills without a full-blown retrofit.
For those of you thinking of investing in a future retrofit, there is good news in the 2022 Budget announcements too. Budget 2022 in Ireland will commit €202 million in carbon tax revenue to fund the SEAI residential and community retrofit schemes and a further €10 million from the Exchequer will be made available for the Solar PV scheme.
Nevertheless, there are many simple insulation tweaks you can make right now to fend off damp, cold and prevent unnecessary heat loss. Here are some go-to ideas.
How To Look For Problem (Heat-Leaking) Areas
Your first challenge is to identify the energy sapping problem areas.
If you feel cold air coming in around your doors and windows on a windy day, it’s definitely a sign there’s work to be done.
Even if there’s no wind - you can still use a hand-held hair dryer from the outside to detect precise locations needing attention.
A simple sight test will also help. Looking for any visibly missing chunks and or damage. Shine a light through by closing the window/door in the dark and check inside for visible chinks of light.
Ways To Weather-Proof Your Windows, Doors & Roofs
Did you know, 25-30% of heating energy in your home could be lost through windows?
Once you’ve checked for draughts, Stop them in their tracks on doors, windows and roofs with some of these easy fixes.
Ditch the Draught with Door Sweeps, Door Snakes & Draft Excluders
Installing a simple Door Sweep at the bottom edge of your door will keep the heat from escaping through that gap between the door and your floor. The same material should be used to plug any gaps in your letterbox if there is one in your front door
Weighted draught excluders placed at the bottom of your doors will also block cold air from coming through and the heat from leaking.
Also known as door snakes or draught-stoppers, these fabric solutions can be purchased in a variety of crafty shapes. But really, a rolled-up towel will suffice until you source one.
Use Weatherstripping to seal out the air on doors and windows and waterproof them as well..
These strips (or Flashing) will give you an added cushioning effect that reduces the sound of slamming. It also holds back dust, water and insects.
Some variations of weather strips are easily applied using hand pressure and a seam roller, with no requirement for special equipment for cutting, forming or fixing. Perfect for both new build or emergency repairs during the winter.
These tend to be available in a range of sizes too. You can get different widths to fit doors versus wider options for roof fixtures.
Look for self-adhesive options that can last up to 15 years. These strips should bond instantly to provide a permanent watertight seal in all climates.
Foam Strips are a form of sticky foam tape. This is a really simple weather-proofing hack - a great alternative for doors and windows that are slightly warped. Cut the tape to size and secure it along areas that have draughts.
Foam Fillers and Seals such as Evo-Stik Expanding Foam Filler for example (a 1-component polyurethane assembly foam, based on a moisture curing polyurethane prepolymer), can be applied to the following areas to seal off gaps:
● Window settings (where clean and controlled backfill is required),
● Roller Blinds (sealing of connection joints),
● Entrance door linings
● Any kind of small breakthroughs in walls and other cavities
External Foam Filler
Outdoor areas can also be addressed using Foam Filler that adheres to most building materials.
The Evo-stik System G foam filler for example, is a gun applied PU foam filler that can be applied easily. It is also a cured one-component polyurethane assembly foam and is resistant to heat and cold (-40° to +100°C) making it perfect for plugging and gaps from the outside. It can be cut, sanded, plastered or painted and provides good heat/sound insulation
You can also use an All-Weather Sealant to secure any gaps in your outward facing fixtures..
There are synthetic rubber sealants that can be used for a wide range of sealing and weather proofing applications around the home. These are ideal for sealing expansion and connection joints, e.g. for facades, glass, kitchen and bathroom (sanitary) and roofing.
This material adheres without primer e.g. to wood, concrete, metal, glass and many plastics. It is available in several matching colours for common fixtures. For example: clear, brown, black and white.
Roof Remedies for Cold Weather
When weather proofing your roofs - be sure to apply a general purpose primer on your roof as an essential surface treatment prior to using any of bituminous adhesives, solutions, emulsions and flashing strips.
For example, The Bostik Rito penetration primer can be universally applied to steel, slate, concrete, asbestos cement, asphalt, corrugated iron etc.
It is designed to penetrate and seal porous surfaces before application of waterproof protective systems.
Drapery To Keep the Draught Away
This is a simple change you can make now.
Change over to lined insulated or thermal curtains to block the draughts even if the cold air leaks through your windows. It provides the added benefit of blocking out the light when the days get longer.
Insulate Unused Chimneys
Did you know, unused chimneys are another way for heat to escape? If you still use your chimney, install a removable chimney balloon to prevent excess heat from escaping during those times when the fireplace is not in use and prevent cold draughts from entering your home.
Not using your chimney at all? You should cap it with the help of a professional in the long term to plug this obvious source of heat loss in your home.
Keep Your Boiler Serviced & Regulate the Temperature
All the DIY hacks and fixes will come to nought if the source of heating in your home isn’t working optimally to begin with. Don’t forget to get your boiler serviced, at least annually.
Not only is it an essential home safety requirement, it is also the best way to ensure the main device that consumes all that energy you’re paying for is delivering in the most efficient way possible.
A simple installation of a thermostat and timer to your heating system will help you use your boiler even more efficiently whilst saving you a lot of time and hassle. It means your home isn’t being heated unnecessarily once an optimal temperature is reached.
You can take this one step further by linking it to a remote control smart app on your phone so that you can delay or switch off the heating when you are not home.
Ready To Save Money On Your Next Utility Bill?
So there you have it - really simple ways to save money on your heating bills, keep your home cosier, warmer and more damp-proof, whilst reducing your carbon footprint this winter!
Got Any Weather Proofing Hacks? Share Them!
Have you already started weatherproofing your home for winter?
Share your proven winter hacks with us on Facebook and Instagram!