Rutherglen Reformer - - House & Home -

A quar­ter of the heat in an unin­su­lated house is lost through the roof, ac­cord­ing to the En­ergy Saving Trust, so in­su­lat­ing the loft is a great way to re­tain heat and save money.

Even if your loft has in­su­la­tion, it may not be thick enough – the rec­om­mended depth for min­eral wool is 27cm, but other types of in­su­la­tion may be dif­fer­ent. You should lay the in­su­la­tion be­tween the joists and then across them at a 90-de­gree an­gle to cre­ate two lay­ers, al­though rigid in­su­la­tion boards are use­ful if you want to board over the loft for stor­age. Open chim­ney breasts can be very draughty, so if you have an un­used fire­place, get the chim­ney capped on the roof (by a roofer) and fit a chim­ney bal­loon from be­low. This in­flates in­side the chim­ney to keep warm air in the room and block cold air com­ing down the chim­ney, but of course, the fire­place can’t be used with it in place. Let­ting in sun­light dur­ing the day makes rooms warmer, es­pe­cially if they’re south fac­ing. The best way to re­tain that heat is to close the cur­tains or blinds when it starts to get dark. If you’re at work at that time, this isn’t pos­si­ble, but clever tech­nol­ogy can do it for you.

For ex­am­ple, the Ul­tra range of pow­ered blinds from Ap­peal Home Shad­ing ( www. ap­peal­shad­ing. com) can be pro­grammed ac­cord­ing to the time, tem­per­a­ture or light. If you want the blinds to close at dusk or when the tem­per­a­ture falls be­low a cer­tain level, you can set them to, so the room stays warmer than it oth­er­wise would – now that’s tech­nol­ogy at its best. If you pre­fer cur­tains, make sure they’re ther­mal ones or have a thick lin­ing – this is one of the best ways to min­imise heat loss through win­dows and pa­tio doors.

For ex­tra in­su­la­tion at this time of year, fit a cur­tain pole above your home’s front and back doors and hang a thick cur­tain across it, es­pe­cially if the doors are par­tially or fully glazed. To keep your boiler worki n g e f f i c i e nt l y , make sure it’s ser­viced an­nu­ally. Re­search by boiler man­u­fac­turer Worces­ter, Bosch Group (see www.worces­ter-bosch. co.uk for in­stall­ers), found that less than half of the home­own­ers ques­tioned had re­mem­bered to do this, while one in five had never had their boiler ser­viced.

“Even new boil­ers need to be checked each year,” says Worces­ter’s Mar­tyn Bridges. “This is even more im­por­tant the older the boiler gets. A boiler is one of the most re­lied on ap­pli­ances in the home, but is largely for­got­ten about un­til it ac­tu­ally stops work­ing.”

A boiler ser­vice, which should in­clude check­ing the ef­fec­tive­ness of the flue and that the boiler is safe, among other things, must be car­ried out by a Gas Safe Reg­is­ter en­gi­neer (www.gas­safer­eg­is­ter. co. uk), or OFTEC reg­is­tered (www.oftec.org.uk/con­sumers/ con­sumers) for oil-fired boil­ers.

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