We spend a lot of money each year heating our homes in the cold winter months and then cooling them during the scalding summer. It may come as a shock, but our homes are not even always that good at keeping in the temperatures we try to control. Around half of all your heat or air conditioning can escape if your house is not properly insulated, and it does not help that each year the prices go up when it comes to heating and cooling. So how can we make sure that the money we invest in heating and cooling is put to good use?
Instead of turning up the thermostat, get insulated! This Ideabook was created to show you how to better insulate your house and how you can save hundreds of pounds each year on your energy bills, as well as how to make a massive reduction in the carbon footprint you leave behind.
The first step you need to take to better insulate your home is to find all of the weak spots where heat or cooled air may escape. This could be anything from gaps in door frames, window frames or broken window panes, or ceiling cracks. Even areas like the wall between your garage and your living space, or in tiny or large nooks and crevices in your attic can be weak points for insulation.
All of these things alone may not pose much of a risk for energy loss, but combined, they really take a toll on your energy bill, and no one likes losing that kind of money. If you have a rather old home, you are going to have many more weak points in your insulation than a home that was built within the last century, so make sure you take extra time to examine where these draughts may be coming from.
Once you have identified the weak points in your home's insulation, now is the time to remedy the situation. One way to do this is through the use of sealing tapes. Sealant strips can be easily found in just about any hardware or home improvement store, and they come relatively cheap. Sealant strips are very easy to fit – it is just like applying sticky tape to something. These strips can be used for doors that are too small for their frames, or windows with gaps in their frames.
Cracks around window frames are one of the most common escape points for warm air. To check for weak points here, run your hand around the edge of the window frame, and if you feel a breeze, you have a hole. To make it extra easy on yourself, get the type of sealant that comes in a tube, so you can just squirt it on, smooth it over, and the job will be done.
Draught excluders are another great way to improve insulation, and they are also incredibly cheap and you can even craft them yourself. Draught excluders are those little rubber strips you see on the bottoms of some doors, but the do it yourself versions are much cuter, and you can create them to fit the interior design style of your home.
To make your own draught excluder, you will need a few things: a rectangular piece of cloth material, (your cloth can be any colour or pattern you desire, so have fun creating these!) at least 40cm wide and just longer than the width of the door, a sewing machine or needle and thread, an old pair of tights, and either gravel, beanbag balls, rice, or lentils for the stuffing. The first step in creating a draught excluder is to take your old tights and stuff them with your filling. We recommend your filling be something like rice, as it's light enough to pick up when you want to move, and also the cheapest filling you can buy. Once you've filled your tights, wrap your piece of cloth around it and sew it up. Place your draught excluder at the base of your door, and voila! You're well on your way to saving energy!
Window foil – or window film – is definitely something you should invest in, especially if you have a lot of windows, or very large windows, in your home. Window film is a piece of semi-sticky film that goes over the glass of the window. They are easy to install – just paste them on – and they do not use any actual adhesives, so they are easy to remove should you ever feel the need to. This film acts as a double layer and keeps in heat.
These films even reduce the amount of time your heater runs because they allow a room to heat up faster and stay warmer longer. They also reduce solar heat gain in the summer by about 70 percent, meaning that your home will stay cooler in the summer because the light coming in through the window is not turned into heat.
Installing shutters or hanging curtains also help to maintain the temperature of your home and improve insulation. Curtains help by trapping the heat in a room before it even has the chance to reach the window. Curtains act as a protective barrier, and cloth is sufficient at trapping heat – especially thick cloth curtains. So adding these to your home not only personalizes it, but saves you some money.
Shutters work very much in the same way, except these are on the exterior of the home. Instead of acting as a barrier between the room and the window, shutters help to trap heat that has already reached the window and prevents it from going further outside.
If you live in an older home, you might have radiator niches. Radiator niches are the types of radiators that are not installed around the base of a room, but rather on one wall of the room and they protrude from that wall. Most of the time, they look like the one in this image here – tall white bars that have temperature control devices on the side, but sometimes they are not painted.
If you have this type of heating system in your home, you want to make sure the area around radiator niche is insulated. There is usually no room for conventional, thick insulating panels where radiator niches are fixated, but the solution to that is rather simple. You can easily install thermally insulating wallpaper and simply place it on the wall around the radiator. This will help to trap in the heat and you will notice a huge change almost instantly.
If you liked this Ideabook, be sure to check out this all white, energy saving wonder home!