Expensive heating bills have become something we all have to live with, but that doesn’t stop them being a worry for everyone. Recent years and the energy crisis have seen energy prices shoot up, and though they’ve come down a bit, it’s not really enough to make an impact. If we’re realistic, it will never go back to how it was.
Sadly, this means many people are sacrificing comfort to save on bills, but with a bit of care and thought, there are ways to reduce the heat loss in your home so you can cut your heating bills.
When the thought of cranking up the thermostat makes you despair, you need to know how to keep your home cosy.
We’ve looked at three of the places where you’re probably losing heat in your home with some cost-effective ways to fix the problem and keep those expensive heating bills at bay.
Heat Loss Zone #1 – The Chill of Windows
One of the primary suspects in heat loss and the cause of expensive heating bills is your windows. Technology in double and triple-glazing plays its part in lowering the escaping warmth. Properly fitted triple-glazed windows are likely to be better at insulation than the walls around them, but windows still remain one of the leading causes of drafts and heat problems.
Since almost every room will have a window, it’s no surprise that, on average, windows are responsible for more than a tenth of total home heat loss.
Why Windows Lose Heat
The warm air in your room will rise and find its way to the cold window, where it transfers heat and drops back down, now far cooler than before. This process goes on and on, with the window effectively sucking heat out of the room while there is an imbalance between the outside and the inside.
And that’s assuming your window is in perfect condition.
Double-glazing provides a small cavity between the two extreme temperatures, lowering heat loss, while triple-glazing works even harder to keep the warmth in, but the principle that cold outside air draws the heat out from the room is immutable.
It may sound dumb, but check your windows are closed tight. Other issues, such as condensation and air quality, mean there are benefits to having your windows open for a while every day, even in the winter, which can lead to forgetting to close them.
You may also have poorly closed a window, not quite sealing it tight.
An open window is a hole to the outside – the first step is to ensure they’re closed!
The seals between your window and the wall and those that form the double or triple-glazing layer of your window can become damaged. If a seal is compromised, it will let the warm air out as easily as an open window.
Seals can be economically fixed, so it’s worth checking to see if you have a problem with any of your windows. Test by holding a lighted match near any suspicious points and see if it wavers or blows out.
The Solution to Window Heat Loss
Brick up all your windows – problem solved!
No, seriously, you don’t want to do that; thankfully, it’s not the 1700s any more.
The real solution is to use a window covering that aids in keeping the heat in. Consider:
Heavy curtains help trap the heat, stopping the energy from the warm air that’s circulating around the main room area from being drawn out of the window. Curtains have been used for centuries and are one of the main go-to window coverings, but they are far from perfect.
Curtains have gaps at the edges, making their coverage incomplete; weighty materials that are best at trapping heat need sturdy curtain poles that add to the cost; and curtains take up a considerable amount of room, making them impractical in many places. Also, many window shapes simply don’t work with curtains.
SSC Insulation Rating: 5/10
Blinds can also reduce some heat loss, though some styles do a better job than others; the best for insulation are the Duette or Parma honeycomb blinds. Made to measure, these blinds have a precise fit that also aids in the insulation quality. They’re child-safe, have a huge range of colour choices, and are sleek and stylish.
SSC Insulation Rating: 7/10
Shutters are the gold standard in energy efficiency for window coverings. Custom fitted to the window recess, there are very small gaps for air to pass, and they are made from materials that are themselves excellent insulators.
Shutters are stylish, add value to your home, and are very low maintenance.
Combined with premium triple-glazing, shutters provide a superior level of insulation.
SSC Insulation Rating: 9/10
Heat Loss Zone #2 – The Problem of Doors
Similar in many ways to windows, doors are the next culprit when considering the rise of expensive heating bills.
By their nature, doors have gaps around the edges and can be left open by mistake – especially if they are sliding doors. Patio doors are essentially huge panes of glass that create expensive heating bills!
The Solution to Door Insulation
There used to be few options for doors, but innovation in recent years means there’s a lot of choice.
Sliding Patio Doors
Curtains for sliding doors do exist but provide a poor option as they often get in the way of the doors themselves. Blinds are similarly impractical, but shutters do provide a desirable solution.
Bi-fold shutters mean you can retain the heat while also creating a beautiful aesthetic. Able to be tailored for any size doors, bi-fold shutters are a practical answer to an otherwise tricky problem.
S:Craft shutters are purposely designed to optimise French door insulation. They offer a perfect solution for keeping in the heat and excellent for light control, and are exceptionally stylish. They are fitted to the door, so they suffer none of the problems of curtains and ensure that they entirely keep the warm air away from the cold expanse of glass.
If you have a window in your front door, a shutter will provide the insulation you need while being easy to manage and completely unobtrusive. So, too, do shutters work wonders with door sidelights, those small panes of glass that look lovely but can be significant sources of heat loss.
Front door glass is often a case of aesthetics first and energy efficiency second, and so it can be an area that really requires some attention. As shutters are made to measure, they provide a comfortable solution no matter the shape or size of the glass.
Door Gaps and Seals
Sausage dog door draught excluders have never gone out of fashion for good reason – they’re an efficient and cute way to block up that necessary gap at the bottom of the door. And, if they’re not your style, there are plenty of modern alternatives.
Simple things like these draught excluders and checking door seals and strips for damage are inexpensive ways to prevent draughts from coming from the door area. Well worth the small investment.
Heat Loss Zone #3 – The Four Walls
One of the advantages of a mid-terrace house is the benefit of extra insulation that comes from neighbours, but for everyone else, your walls are another place where heat is escaping.
And, even if you do have a neighbour to the left of you and another to the right, there’s still front and back to contend with.
In a modern context, a basic wall is rubbish at keeping out the heat. If you can put your hand on the wall and feel the chill, then you already know this.
But what to do?
The Ultimate Solution to Wall Heat Loss
Cavity wall insulation is the main way to stop heat loss through your walls, but installing it is expensive and disruptive if you don’t have it. The Great British Insulation Scheme is a government initiative to help you with the cost of cavity wall insulation and other insulation and is well worth considering if your walls are little more than lumps of stone between you and the outside.
Failing that, you could always look to history and invest in a huge tapestry or four-poster bed – both actually excellent solutions to expensive heating bills and a favourite of both Ebenezer Scrooge and Henry VIII!
Other Areas To Consider
Other places could be the cold spots in your home. It’s worth taking a quick check to see that you’re not leaking out the heat in any of these places:
- The loft insulation
- Cracks in the wall
- Loft hatches
- Pet doors, such as a cat flap
Shutters and Blinds to Reduce Expensive Heating Bills
At the Scottish Shutter Company, we’re experts in window and door coverings that can help you with those rising energy costs. While we don’t pretend to have the answer to thin walls or poor loft insulation, and we don’t yet sell four poster beds, we do know what’s what when it comes to shutters and blinds.
If you want to consider some modern ways to stop heat leaking through your windows, download a brochure or contact us today.