It’s cold, but you wish you were so hot right now. That’s why today I want to share energy saving tips to heat your home efficiently. Heating and cooling makes up 40% of your energy usage. With energy prices continuing to rise, and more critically global temperatures, we must all do our part to reduce our impact on the environment. Our challenge is to keep the cool out and the heat in.
Newer houses are now well insulated; houses 10 years or older are likely to have minimal insulation. Either of which you find yourself in, the following will save you money on your heating bills.
Get in the zone:
Rarely, if ever, are all the rooms in your house in use at any given time. Yet if you have one unit heating your whole house, you will be heating bedrooms that are unused during the day, and if you heat bedrooms at night, you will be also heating empty living spaces. The first step is to create two zones (spoken about in last week’s blog), in which you only heat what’s in use, with the rest closed off to heat later when needed. The type of heating system you have governs what you can do.
Ducted central heating through floor vents are common and the easiest to control. The vents can usually be closed via a sliding shutter. Closing these and the doors of those rooms not in use, stops heating to those unused spaces. Furthermore, hot air supplied to the open vents of the areas in use will occur faster. If you don’t have closing vents, pull the vents covers out and just below the outlet within the duct there is often a flap hinged in the middle, that can be rotated shut. Failing that a piece of cardboard cut to shape will achieve the same. If the vents are in the ceiling, this technique wont work as they are too hard to reach.
If designing a new house with ceiling or floor vents, you have the opportunity to really benefit. Two separate smaller heating systems, one that heats bedrooms, and another that heats the living spaces, can be individually controlled. You then don’t have to open and close vents. Alternatively if you plan on fitting just one heating unit, a motorised shutter within the ductwork, can be closed at the push of a button stopping supply to the bedrooms with the same effect.
Equally as important when building your new home is insulating it well to trap the heat in. How well the insulation is installed means everything. Be sure to work with builders and tradespeople who know how insulation must be fitted. I’m amazed by how many don’t. Insulation only works with an air gap between it and other materials. If insulation is not properly joined and sealed to the next sheet of insulation, it’s like leaving the window open when the heating is on – the hot will escape.
Double storey houses:
Your stairwell acts as a pipe channeling heat to the unused bedrooms upstairs. It is common to have an upstairs and separate downstairs heating unit, if not and the outlets are also in the ceiling, there is nothing you can do. With separate units for upstairs and down, the issue is when the downstairs unit alone is on, and how to prevent the heat being lost to upstairs. Don’t worry folks, I’ve got answers. By simply closing all the doors to the rooms upstairs, you reduce the upstairs volume to just the corridor that the stairwell will supply, and with that the amount of hot air that will rise is drastically reduced. Once that corridor is heated no more air will rise, leaving the downstairs to gain the heat it needs. If building a new house be sure to have two units, or a motorised shut off to turn off upstairs or downstairs individually. Even better still a sliding door to close off the stairwell, perhaps at the bottom, means no heat loss to upstairs whatsoever.
The easy stuff:
The final step we can all do to greatly reduce our heat being lost is easy and possible in every home. In older houses windows aren’t well sealed, neither doors. These gaps around their edges allows on average all the air in your house to be lost to outside every 3-4 hours! That’s a lot of your heating being lost across a day. Seal your windows with rubber stick on seals; install draft seals to the bottom of doors. Lastly a massive amount of heat is lost through glass, this is the weakest link in all homes. Think of how thin a piece of glass is compared to how thick a wall is. Simply close the blinds. This stops the hot air being cooled by the cold glass. This alone will save you a fortune.
Any questions? Please ask in the comments section below.