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Why is my house so cold?

Coming home to a cold house is the last thing anyone wants, especially during the winter months. Here, we tell you how to keep the cold out and create a warm and cosy home.

Reasons why your house might be cold

Even with a relatively new boiler, there are many reasons why you may still be struggling to keep your house warm. Whether it’s poor insulation, thermostat issues, or even the thickness of your curtains, there’s always something you can do to prevent heat loss.

Blocked and inefficient radiators

It’s important to make sure that you don’t have any furniture blocking your radiators as this can severely limit the amount of heat that is able to get into your rooms. The same can also be said of curtains that are partially covering your radiators or damp clothes that have been hung on them to dry.

If you have cold radiators, they may contain a lot of trapped air. Releasing this air by  bleeding a radiator will help it reach the desired temperature. If your radiator is still cold, then you may have to call a Gas Safe engineer to fix the issue.

 

Heat escaping through gaps in your home

While your heating system may be working perfectly, gaps around your home could be causing too much heat to escape.

Gaps around your windows and doors can be one of the main reasons why you may be feeling a draught, while poorly installed appliances such as cooker hoods and fans can also allow too much cold air to get in. Making sure that these gaps are filled, either by using insulation tape or through more permanent measures, such as fitting a new door and frame, will help keep the cold air out.

Make sure you have energy-efficient windows

Figures show that over 25% of heat loss is through windows. Replacing single glazing with energy efficient glass can play an important role in insulating your home and further reducing your energy bills.

Research by the Energy Saving Trust shows that installing double gazing in a single glazed property could save you up to £120 a year.

Poor Insulation

It can be a losing battle when poor insulation, or even the lack of it, allows a huge amount of heat to escape your home.

Without adequate insulation, around 25% of the heat produced by your system will escape through your roof, with around 35% escaping through the walls and 10% disappearing through the floor.

There are many ways to improve the insulation of your home, with many of them extremely cost effective.

For example, cavity wall insulation costs around £475 for a typical semi-detached house, an outlay that you’ll be making back after only one year of savings. Likewise, loft insulation could save you £150 a year on your bills compared to an initial investment of just £300.

You can also receive help to pay for insulation in the shape of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) grant, and the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme.

Inaccurate Thermostat

Your thermostat provides a way of communicating with your boiler, allowing you to set the temperature and timings remotely. It also works out whether the room has reached the desired temperature. If your thermostat has developed a fault, it may think that this temperature has been reached, when in fact it hasn’t.

Firstly, check that your thermostat has been set to a comfortable room temperature between 18–24 °C. If your setting is correct and the temperature is still uncomfortably cold, then you might want to invest in a new thermostat or even upgrade to a smart thermostat.

Preparing your home for winter

There are a number of additional changes you can make to make the most of your heating system during the colder months.

1. Open and close your curtains

Your curtains aren’t just for keeping the light out, but can also help you retain heat in your home.

As well as investing in heavier, thermal lined curtains during the winter, opening and closing them at the right time will also help to warm up your home.

On a sunny winter’s day, keep your curtains open for as long as possible to allow the sunlight into your rooms. Once the sunlight disappears from each room, make sure you close the curtains to trap the heat inside.

If you have rooms that don’t get any sunlight, it’s best to keep your curtains closed.

2. Keep your doors closed

You can let out a lot of the heat you’ve trapped in a room by leaving doors open around your house. While it may seem like a chore if you’re in and out of rooms, for example when cleaning your house, closing doors behind you can make a huge difference.

3. Direct heat back into the room

If your walls are properly insulated, you’ll find that most of the heat from your radiators will be trapped inside your home. However, you can help prevent some of it from escaping through the wall by placing metallic card, or even plane card wrapped in tin foil, behind your radiator. This clever little trick will reflect the heat back into the room.

4. Keep your pipes warm

Applying lagging to any pipes and water tanks in exposed areas, such as garages and lofts, can stop them from freezing and causing heating problems during cold snaps.

You can also avoid a frozen condensate pipe by applying lagging to it. This pipe helps dispose of wastewater from your boiler safely and is vital to its overall health.

Make sure your boiler gets a regular service

To ensure that your home is ready for winter, it’s important to get an annual boiler service. It may also be prudent to take up a care plan, particularly if your boiler is out of warranty, as this will ensure that you’re able to cover any further faults quickly.

However, if your boiler is particularly old (the average boiler will last anywhere between 10-15 years) and you’re experiencing consistent problems, then it may be time to invest in a new boiler that you can rely on in the winter and all year round.