Early winter preparations to keep the heat in and cold out

2015-05-28 06:00

AS the cost of electricity and gas rapidly­ increase, it is important to ensure that our homes are run as economically as possible.

Here are some relatively inexpensive tips on how to help keep the heating bills down this winter.

Draughts

Take a walk around your home and give it a thorough inspection.

Look for gaps where cold breezes can get in.

One of the most effective draught catchers is an incense stick. Close all the windows and doors in your home on a windy day, light an incense stick and then walk around your home and hold it near all the exits.

The minute the smoke moves in a particular direction, you will have detected a leak, and you can then work on sorting it out.

Make sure the gap between the door and the floor is sealed. Either use a door draught guard (a long sausage-shaped stuffed cushion) or have a door flap-fitted which will keep out breezes.

If you have an open fireplace, get doors fitted onto the opening, because the chimney is one of the worst culprits for letting in cold air - it also allows all the warm air to escape.

If you have a double-storey home, ensure that you have a way of blocking the upstairs off from the downstairs.

If you have doors separating the upstairs and downstairs rooms, keep them closed while you heat the ground floors.

If you can’t separate the upstairs and downstairs areas, all the warm air created downstairs will flow upstairs, and this will force you to keep the heaters on, at full temperature, as the area downstairs will never heat up properly.

Once the family is ready for bed, you can open the doors between the upstairs and downstairs and allow all the warm air to flow upstairs.

Insulation

No matter where you live, when it gets cold it is advisable to insulate your home as much as possible – this will keep it warmer in the cold months and cooler in the hot months.

All the hot water plumbing pipes in your home should be insulated to make sure that heat loss is reduced while the hot water travels from your geyser to your tap.

To insulate pipes buy pipe-insulating covers. They are inexpensive and can save a lot of energy in the long- run.

Invest in a geyser blanket to prevent the geyser from cooling down too quickly and then needing to constantly switch itself on.

If you have a gas geyser, it is especially important to ensure all the pipes to and from the geyser are well-insulated.

Often the gas-water heater is outside and far away from your indoor taps, so by the time the water gets to you, it has lost a lot of heat along the way.

If this is the case, you will need to turn the heating temperature up and in the process, use a lot more gas than normal.

Climb into your roof and check the insulation above your ceilings. If it is wearing thin and not looking tightly and snugly fitted, it should be added to or entirely replaced.

Insulating your ceilings will keep warm air inside in winter, and keep hot air in the roof from entering your home in the summer.

The better insulated your roof is, the lower your heating and cooling costs will be.

Firewood

Start buying your firewood early - collecting it over time – as most suppliers sell firewood for a lot less before the winter rush.

The most affordable place to buy firewood is from a tree-felling company .

You can fetch a bakkie-load full of firewood at a fraction of the cost of buying packets or bundles of firewood from your garage or supermarket.

If you have an anthracite heater, it is cheaper to buy the anthracite early as well – filling up your coal bin little by little, over time.

Window dressing

If your windows are dressed with curtains made from thin fabric, invest in lined curtains made from thicker, heavier fabric.

Lots of heat is lost through the window glazing, and as such, the heavy fabric will help to keep the cold out and the warmth inside.

Thicker curtains will make all the difference, of course, this is not as important if you have double-glazed windows. – Property24

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