It’s getting colder outside and like many others, you are no doubt already feeling the financial strain of a precarious year, Christmas having been hot on your heels and the ever rising cost of heating your home a strain as we move into the full force of winter.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could ensure your hard earned cash wasn’t just flying out of the gaps in the window seals? How do you heat your home without just cranking up the heaters and emptying your bank account topping of the tariff; especially if you are in a rented property?
It can be hard at the best of times to get landlords to make those big investments that would improve living costs, such as switching from storage heating to something a little more economical, especially if they are still in working order. But that doesn’t mean you have to suffer cold feet either.
Large improvement might be out of the budget at present but here are 10 tips to help you winterise your rented property that will have you feeling snuggling and cozy in no time.
1. Door Curtains with Tension Poles
Whether you have it in your contract or not, most renters think twice before drilling holes into their walls that they will undoubtedly have to patch up again themselves before move day. And whilst a fixed in curtain pole is better for long term use, a tension pole with a thick door curtain is a sure ticket for keeping the chill coming through letter box from invading your home. And the nice thing is, during the summer, the pole can be easily switched out for a bug curtain!
2. Line Your Curtains
If you are renting with soft furnishing, then you might not want to whip out the old sewing machine before writing to your landlord first. Whilst sewn in liners are often a cheaper option over all, if you are renting, the cost of buffing up someone else’s curtains can get expensive, especially if you move frequently.
However, what you can do is use removable thermal curtain linings to back pretty much any curtain, your own or otherwise, with little fuss. Thermal curtain panels look similar to a regular curtain, except that you use them in reverse. Simply use the curtains hook-pulls to hang the thermal panels to the back of each curtain and vola! Those nice fancy sheer curtains now not only look nice but keep out the draft.
3. Removable Weather Stripping
We get it – general wear and tear, house subsidence, age, overly eager teenagers slamming things, all these things affect the ability of door and window seals to do their job over time. But what can we do as renters?
Well, by using removable weather stripping on the inside of the window latches and doors, you can ensure that the air-tight seal is brought back to life. The stripping makes for a tighter close, which in turn means less of your heat is running off with the winter breeze. The stripping is removable, and repositionable which means you aren’t causing any hiccups with your rental agreement, and they don’t cost the earth to buy.
Weather stripping can also be used around your loft hatch.
4. Draught Excluder Sausages
They come in all sorts of silly shapes and sizes, these funny sausage shaped door huggers, but there is no question as to the effectiveness of draught excluders. When placed on the floor over the bottom of a door seal (which is usually the biggest gap of any door) these comical fabric rolls can ensure that your heating isn’t lost via the vacuum effect. Easy to move about and available to suite all tastes and styles, draught excluders might be old fashioned but certainly aren’t old hat yet!
5. Rugs on Hard Floors
Now this one might seem obvious, especially if you are mad enough to be running around with bear feet, but a rug or mat on a wooden floor is a good way of reflecting heat and stopping you from feeling cold.
On ground floors they helps to absorb the cold air coming up from your foundation, and on second stories, can prevent your downstairs heat escaping too quickly from the room in which it is meant to be. Not only this but mats can prove to be a handy non-slip safety feature when used in bathrooms and kitchens.
6. Prevent Mould Build-up with a Dehumidifier
Now if you just heard the word Dehumidifier and cringed at the thought of more drain on your electric, don’t panic. These too come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with some non-electric ones being just as effective as their mechanical counterparts.
But regardless of which you get (throw away, refillable, electric) they are handy to have around the house. By keeping them on window sills and in the backs of brick backed cupboards, you can help yourself with any potential mould issues by taking away the moisture. They also help to purify the air and who doesn’t want to breath better?
7. Curtains Open, Doors Closed
Admittedly, if you’re cold, one of the last things you want is to look out at a frosty garden visage and the temptation to close the curtains and ‘keep the heat in’ during the day might be high.
But even on a cold winter’s day, the sun is still doing her job and providing natural light and heat, whether you feel it or not. This natural resource can help to heat your home, even if just a little, and the light can also combat mould, especially on fabrics. However, it is definitely advisable to go around and close all of your curtains before the sun goes down, as once that heat is in, you want to keep it there.
By keeping doors closed in certain rooms, say the bathroom and kitchen, you can prevent heating from getting sucked into ceramic fixtures and other cold traps and keep the heat in the rooms where you need it most. By leaving doors open, you allow the warm are to travel further, and whilst this might seem like a good idea at the time, you will feel the benefits of a heater more if you can confine the space it is used for.
8. Invest in Better Heaters
Again this may seem obvious, but it’s not always easy to tell if a heater is the right fit for a room. Whilst many of us are loathed to turn on storage heaters, others swear by them, and some would prefer gas or oil filled.
The truth is, you have to figure out what is right for you and your family, and don’t be afraid to add heaters into your home if the ones installed there aren’t doing the job you need them too.
Also think about keeping heaters on and running at a lower setting when you aren’t using the room, such as a dining room. By keeping the room at a constant low temperature, rather than heating it up every time you need to, you are more likely to use less on energy costs as the heater doesn’t have to heat up from cold every time. (Don’t believe me, boil your kettle a few times and see what it does to your smart metre).
9. Check Your Smoke Detectors
I bet you weren’t expecting to see this one on the list and yet it’s perhaps the most important tip of all!
Scenario: It’s winter, it’s coming up to Christmas and we are filling our homes with lights, tinsel, wrapping paper and extra swatches of fabric over the windows and doors. Whilst it does bear thinking about, it is statistically more likely that fires will occur in the home during winter, as we are more often gathered in doors during this time. Candles can get knocked over, ovens left on, and all other possibilities best left to horror stories.
Protect your family by checking and replacing if needed, you fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Better safe than sorry.
10. Add Another Layer to Bathroom Windows
Let’s face it, without any heating on, the bathroom is one of the most noticeably cold rooms in the house, and as the place you, ahem, get naked, the last thing you want is to feel the frost bite.
It’s also one of the rooms the heating escapes from the most.
You can combat this by adding the appropriate blinds or curtains but also by adding removable privacy film to your windows. It’s easy to apply and remove, often comes with a pretty pattern that still allows the light in and helps to keep the heat from escaping, especially if you have multiple windows, such as with a bathroom on the corner of your house. This trick is handy anywhere, but is a must for rooms where the heat vacates quickly, such as bathroom, basements and utilities.
And Finally Bonus Tip – Slippers!
Yes I know, stating the obvious again but you’d be surprised how many people are content to just walk around in their bare feet or socks at home! With the majority of our bodies’ natural heat fleeing our system from the tops of our head and the soles of our feet, it is a small wonder that we need to keep these body parts tosy cosy, and not just for our personal sakes but that of our heating bills!
By keeping our persons warm, we displace the illusion of cold, which in turn stops us from cranking the heater up to combat that irksome feeling, when in truth, the room might be warm enough in the moment, you’re just feeling a bit chilly. Always cover your feet first!
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