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Tips for keeping the cold out

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12 Jul 2011

How many of us spend winter in our homes dressed in jerseys and jackets? By following a few simple tips, your home can be warmed up to a much more comfortable level.

 

Most of us live in homes that are perfectly suited to our warm climate, which is great during the long summer months. However, during winter we need to switch all the heaters on and we still do not feel comfortable. This is because our homes are generally not built for the cold weather, and we are losing the heat we generate at great cost and also letting in the cold air without realising it.

One of the  worst and most common offendors is air leakage. To negate this problem, we need to take a good look around the home and sort these problems out wherevr they occur. Here are some common spots:

Doors

 

Check all the doors to the outside and seal up where necessary. Most doors have a gap underneath that lets in the cold air. For relatively little money you can have a rubber flap installed under your door that seals this gap when the door is closed. It will also keep out unwanted pests. One can also seal the gap under your doors using long fabric door stoppers – these make a great difference to the warmth of the room.

Windows

Most homes have metal windows and frames that are never completely airtight. For these, you can invest in foam rubber strips that have  adhesive on one side. Stick these along all the openings to your windows and this will stop any air getting through. This option does not look all that attractive however, but it does work well. If aesthetics are very important to you, then you could rather invest in heavy curtaining, which also goes a long way to keeping the cold out. This solution is also useful in summer, as it can serve to cool a room down by keeping the sunlight out.

Fireplaces

 

One of the most common places for heat to escape or for the cold air to come rushing into your home is through the chimney. If you are using the fireplace regularly, this is not an issue, but many of us use the fireplace only when we have visitors. If your fireplace has doors, keep them closed, otherwise, seal up the chimney with a purpose-made tarpaulin. You will be pleasantly surprised at what a difference this makes.

Ceilings

Make sure you check to see if you have insulation in the ceiling. If not, it is highly advisable to get someone out to come and install suitable insulation. Also, check that the edges along the cornices are sealed tight as they would be the perfect gap for the warm air to flow out of your home. Put some clear silicone in the gaps and then nail the loose cornices down again. This should now be sealed for a good many years. Check all the trapdoors in the ceilings - they are often badly fitted and would let through a lot of your warm air. They too can be sealed with the foam rubber tape. 

 

More tips  

If you have a large home and some of your rooms are not used everyday, keep the doors to these rooms closed. This will help with your heating bills as well, because you will have smaller areas to heat up.

One of the silliest things we do is light a fire in the lounge downstairs and then leave the bathroom window open upstairs – by doing this, all you are doing is giving the warm air a quick and easy way to flow out of your home. The hot air rises and flies out of the window and is replaced by freezing air that comes straight down the steps and into your living area. As such, be sure to keep all the windows tightly closed to avoid hot air escaping. - Antonella Desi

Readers' Comments Have a comment about this article? Email us now.

My house is an older house that has air bricks installed above all the windows.  I notice that modern houses don’t have these air bricks any more.
Does a lot of heat escape out of the air bricks?  Are they really necessary?  We were always taught that we had to have an adequate supply of fresh air in our homes for health purposes as it was supposedly not good to breath in old stale air. What are your comments on this issue? - Peter

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