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10 home hacks to keep warm this winter

By Rachel England Monday 20 January 2014

Christmas may be long gone and spring up ahead, but when it comes to the cold, we’re not out of the woods yet! Forecasters say we’re in for a good blast of winter weather before the daffodils appear, but these easy hacks will keep your house toasty warm in the meantime.

Winter

1) Put tin foil behind radiators

A lot of heat from your radiators ends up being absorbed into the walls behind them. Deflect it back into the room with tin foil. You can buy foil specially designed for this purpose for less than a tenner, or even use regular kitchen foil, providing it’s of high quality.

2) Give radiators room

Radiators need space to do their job, so make sure yours aren’t blocked by furniture, which will prevent the warm air from circulating around the room. Also, try to avoid leaving clothes and towels over them – as lovely as it is to dry off with a hot towel or slip on a pair of warm pyjama bottoms, that’s heat that could be used to warm your house instead!

3) Put a shelf above radiators

This is a particularly effective trick if your radiators are below a window, where heat can easily escape or become trapped behind curtains; heat will be fanned into the room instead of up the walls.

4) Leave the oven open

Leave the oven door open once you’ve finished cooking (and have turned the oven off!), to make the most of the leftover heat. But be careful if you’ve got curious kids or playful pets.

5) Block up chimneys

Unless you regularly use your fireplace for an actual fire, consider making it purely decorative by installing a chimney balloon, which will put pay to chilly draughts (and also those creepy whooshing noises when it's windy out!). These can be bought for around £20. Just make sure you remove it before starting a fire!

6) Use draught excluders

Gaps around doors and windows are big culprits when it comes to cold houses. Ideally, you’d seal up gaps using caulk or by installing draught stoppers, but the good old fashioned draught excluder – known by many as the ‘sausage dog’ – works well, too. You needn’t buy expensive ones; a pair of tights stuffed with soft fabric or beanbag beans will do the job nicely.

7) Keep doors closed

Close off any rooms that aren’t used frequently, or rooms that are particularly nippy due to their positioning (rooms with several external walls, for example), to stop their chilliness seeping through to the rest of the house.

8) Work your curtains

Thick curtains will help to keep heat in and cold air out, but if you can’t afford new ones, try lining your existing ones – you could even use a PVC shower curtain! Be sure to close your curtains and blinds as soon as dusk falls, but keep them open during the day to make the most of the sunlight, which will help gently warm your house, even if it’s cold out.

9) Fake some double glazing

Double glazing is one of the best investments you can make to keep your house warm, but it can be expensive. Instead, try double glazing ‘film’, which is not quite as effective as the real deal but still does a good job of stopping heat escaping from single-glazed windows. The only downside is that once it’s applied (which you can do yourself quite easily), you can’t open the window without breaking the film’s seal. However, enough film to cover the windows of a medium-sized house costs around £15, so it could be redone quite easily once Winter rolls around again.

10) Get a rug

According to the National Energy Foundation, as much as 10% of a home’s heat is lost through bare floors. An inexpensive rug will help prevent this, plus keep your feet toasty warm!

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