Insulate your home on the cheap

posted by in Budgeting, Housing, Money saving

Insulate your home on the cheap

The snowflakes are real, honest!

Last year I discovered my new flat was about as well insulated as a beach hut.

Every room and window seemed to be letting in a draught but since I’m from Yorkshire I tend to think that as long as it’s above freezing it’s warm enough for shorts.

My other half disagreed and decided we’d have to make the place as warm as we could, for as cheap as possible.

Thankfully another Yorkshire trait means I know how to save a ‘few bob’ so after a quick brew I cracked on with it. Here’s what I did…

1. Window insulation

If you live somewhere with single-glazed windows you’ll know that these can often be
draughty and cold. You can help stop this, save money and keep warm with double glazing film.

This is a budget way to create your own double glazing by placing a layer of plastic film on the window frames and using a hairdryer to smooth out any wrinkles. You can buy window film kits for around £5 – £10 which is a bargain compared to full double glazing.

There’s a bit of a trick to getting this right but with practice you can make the film practically invisible. No more howling winds blowing through your draughty windows! Check out this video from Green It Yourself to find out how to do it step by step.

2. Close the doors!

Closing off rooms and keeping doors shut (or putting “wood in th’ole” as the old Yorkshire saying goes) traps in precious heat for the rest of the house and makes it easier to heat. Make sure you turn the radiator down just enough to stop any problems with damp and condensation caused by the room getting a bit too cold, or warm it up once a week.

3. Free insulation schemes

As part of the Government’s Green Deal you could be entitled to lots of free energy-saving improvements to help insulate and heat your home. Depending on where you live and whether you meet the criteria, some suppliers are offering free insulation and free boilers as part of the scheme.

To help cut through the jargon, MoneySavingExpert.com has put together a handy guide to the latest energy-saving freebies and who they apply to. The potential savings are huge – cavity wall and loft insulation can chop up to £300 off your energy bills each year! Who says you can’t get “summat for nowt”?

4. Curtains

Of course curtains are a no-brainer for keeping draughts away from windows. Thicker curtains are better, but rather than splashing out for new ones, create your own thermal curtain lining by following this helpful DIY video courtesy of Islington Council.

5. DIY draught excluder

A chilly breeze blowing under your doors and nipping at your toes is a tell-tale sign you could benefit from a draught excluder. Making your own is an effective way to stop heat leaking under your doors and while a basic one can be made in minutes, there are loads of funky designs you can make with spare fabric.

6. Bleed your radiators

Bleeding a radiator definitely isn’t as painful as it sounds. It involves letting out trapped air from your radiators that can build up over time, causing your radiators to be cooler and less efficient.

If your radiators don’t seem as warm anymore or they’ve got cold spots then Uswitch.com has a guide to bleeding radiators yourself which is straightforward to follow.

7. Be the master of your thermostat

I always remember that it was my dad who used to control the thermostat. He seemed to have a 6th sense whenever someone had adjusted or “faffed about” with the heating.

Well he may have had a point because according to energysavningtrust.org, turning your thermostat back 1°C could save you £75 a year on your heating bill!

8. Look out for draughty coldspots

From cracks in the walls to flimsy floorboards, draughts can sneak into your abode via a whole host of routes. Wall cracks can be plastered over cheaply. Large area rugs can also deflect heat that would usually be absorbed by floorboards.

You can pick up fairly cheap area rugs in local markets and on eBay, and you’ll soon make the money back over the lifespan of the rug with the money you’ll save on energy bills.

9. Switch your energy

Comparing and switching your utility provider is a quick and easy way to see if you could save money on your bills. Finding a cheaper deal or fixing your energy prices is one of the most significant savings you can make.

As a rule, I switch energy providers every year unless my current provider offers a better deal (which none of them have so far), so if you’re not tied down to a supplier then why not try our free and impartial utility switching service to compare, switch and save?

“If tha fancies chuntering abaat saving a pretty penny then tell us in’t comments!(If you’ve got any energy-saving tips you’d like to tell us about, let us know in the comments)

Rory Marshall joined the MoneyAware team in July 2014 after working for our Web Helpline as a debt advisor. In his spare time Rory is a self-confessed technology geek and spends far too much of his spare time on his phone.

Written by

Tags Budgeting Housing Money saving
  • Dave Pearce

    re guide to energy saving freebies, our council cancelled it’s program for energy efficiency help. We were on the scheme and got a new boiler (luckily) but they closed the scheme. So no cavity wall insulation and left with rotting single glazed sash windows. It’s a real pain as with disabilities often need to keep the place slightly above the recommended 21c

  • Mark Yates

    There’s other ways to get home heating bills down on the cheap – that’s with government funded schemes like Eco and Green Deal. I know someone who got a new boiler (part paid for by government funding) on the Eco deal, I think they used STL Heating for help. Still if you’re thinking how good it would be to get your bills down – give ’em a go!

    • moneyaware

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks for the suggestions! We’re big fans of any way to reduce heating costs and save some pennies.

      Rory

  • mark bill

    http://thefifthfuel.com/attic-insulation-va/

    cheers!
    You have really allured me; I have no words to explain my feelings about your
    post.

  • HellenMark

    yes, very simple step to also saving an energy. I agree especially with “switch your energy” – this is a important thing and people dont care about that :/

    Greetings, Hellen
    double glazing windows

  • Pingback: My Simple Ways To Make Your Home Eco-Friendly - Mommys 4 Seasons Journey()