One of the easiest ways to save money on your energy bills is by draught-proofing your home. This will help prevent too much cold air from coming inside and warm air from escaping, meaning you’ll use less energy to heat your home.
With winter approaching, now is a good time to locate any problem areas in your house and rectify them with these simple solutions.
Windows can be the biggest source of draughts in the home. You can fill the gaps between the window and the frame with self-adhesive foam strips or with metal or plastic strips with brushes or wipers attached. These are inexpensive and readily available at hardware stores.
Exterior doors can also be a major source of draughts. If there are gaps around the sides use the same foam strips, or brushes or wipers, used for your windows. To block a gap under the door, fit a weather strip to keep the cold air out, or use a removable draught excluder.
Also consider fitting a letterbox plate and a keyhole cover to stop draughts from entering via these areas. These are cheap to buy and very easy to install yourself.
Modern double-glazed French door can offer a good standard of insulation, however old French doors are notorious for letting the cold air in and the warm air out. Try replacing the foam or brush strips around the sides of the doors, or install them from scratch if they aren’t there already. As with ordinary doors, you can also fit a weather strip to the bottom to block draughts.
Old-style pet doors are typically poorly insulated, so it could be worth buying a new one that comes with weatherproofing built in. If you want to keep your existing pet door, minimise draughts by using foam strips around the frame and installing a weather strip along the bottom edge, as you would with regular windows and doors.
Chimneys are very draughty so if you have an unused fireplace in your house consider installing a chimney cap. This is fitted over the chimney pot to keep cold air out. It is best to get a professional to install a chimney cap.
Alternatively you could use a chimney draught excluder such as a balloon, which is inflated inside the chimney, to block the cold air from entering.
Be very careful to always remove any draught-stoppers before using the fireplace.
Seal any gaps around your loft hatch to stop warm air escaping into the roof cavity. You can use the same foam strips, brushes or wipers you use on windows and doors.
If you have gaps between your floorboards you could be taking in cold air, particularly if they are on the ground floor. Use a silicone-based filler to fill the gaps, which is flexible enough to allow the wood to expand and contract as normal.
How to get the best energy deal
If you don’t regularly shop around for your gas and electricity, you’re probably stuck on your supplier’s standard default tariff and paying too much. Energy providers typically offer their cheapest rates to new customers, so you could save a considerable amount by switching supplier.
For energy comparisons the standard variable energy tariff for a Big 6 supplier is currently at £1,221 for a dual fuel customer using 12,000kwh gas and 3,100kwh of electricity per year. From the same Big 6 suppliers you can get deals close to £1,000 per year if you are prepared to manage your account providing regular reading, or even sub £900 if you are prepared to go with a smaller supplier where everything is managed online. All it costs is around 10 minutes of your time.
The Telegraph has partnered with price comparison service energyhelpline to help you find the best energy deal for your household. The top 10% of Telegraph readers who used the service have saved £631 when switching suppliers. Energyhelpline provides free impartial advice on the best gas and electricity deals on the market and allows you to compare suppliers by calculated savings, customer service ratings and the terms of the deal.
Once you have chosen a tariff, energyhelpline sends your application to the new supplier and manages the changeover so you don’t have to.
See how much you could save on your energy bills with The Telegraph’s Energy Switching service
The above article was created for Telegraph Financial Solutions, a member of The Telegraph Media Group. For more information on Telegraph Financial Solutions click here