Saving energy in our homes has long been an issue for most households and each new generation works hard to make energy saving a possibility for all. These days we use smart meters to monitor our usage, triple glazing to ensure we stay warm and carefully programmed central heating to give us the flexibility we need. In the days of our grandparent’s things may have been very different. They may not have had central heating, homes generally were single glazed and open fires were the norm.
While the way they lived then may have seemed quaint, they still had some excellent ideas for energy saving around the home that we can learn from today and in true old-fashioned money-saving style, they are usually not going to cost a fortune to implement.
Even our modern homes are somewhat leaky. Windows and doors are the most obvious places where the warmth can get out and these gaps should be plugged if at all possible to keep the heat inside where you want it. Door snakes are a great idea that is easy to make and do a fantastic job at stopping draughts under doors. Simply take a length of material and sew it into a long sausage shape. Fill this with rags, old socks, and some bean bag beads for stability and then place along the bottom of the door. If you are especially crafty you can knit one that will fit in with your decor.
Other gaps can be filled with simple scrunched up newspaper, plastic sheeting and old clothes or material.
Our homes these days are often open plan making it harder to heat our homes and impossible to shut off the room you are in. However, you should always close the doors of the rooms you can and do your best to keep the heat where you need it. In this way, you can use radiator thermostats to keep each room at the temperature you need and not heat those rooms that you are not using.
By planning your cooking you can take advantage of having the oven on for several meals rather than just one. For example, if you are cooking a casserole and will have the oven on for a couple of hours, add a cake or a batch of muffins at the same time. This will depend on the size of your oven, but there’s a good chance you can fit in at least a couple of meals into one cooking session. And when the oven is cooling down leave the door open so that heat comes into the room.
We expect you know loads more old-fashioned money saving ideas – but these will certainly help when the weather gets cooler in the months to come.
Like most things in our homes we get something fitted and then forget about it until something goes wrong, but should we be checking insulation on a regular basis? Unlike many appliances or home repairs, insulation is not noticeable as it is hidden away inside the loft or the walls, and we often don’t realise the signs of when our insulation is failing us.
Signs of insulation issues
Some of the signs that can indicate an issue with your insulation are heat loss changes, damp or condensation. This can be caused by the deterioration of old insulation material, exposure to damp, inadequate ventilation, gaps in the insulation, or debris in the cavity. As a result, it can cause cold spots in your house and damp patches can form on walls or ceilings.
Loft insulation can also deteriorate if it becomes damp or dusty as it can prevent the material from acting as insulation and it can cause it to degrade. It can also naturally compact over time which will impact its effectiveness.
If you have any work done on your property where the insulation is then it might be worth having the insulation checked for damage or potential issues before they arise.
Wall insulation should be checked when you have any work done that involves drilling through the entire wall or removing bricks; fittings to the wall do not count unless it is being fixed to solid wall insulation where special fittings should be used so that it is fixed to the wall and not just the insulation. Checks should be done to see if any of the insulation has been moved or removed as a cold spot could be left. Solid wall insulation needs to be checked in case the insulation material is exposed which can cause damp to get into the material.
Loft insulation can be moved or damaged whilst work is being completed in the loft so if you have any significant work done in your loft, such as roof repairs, pipes or electrical work then it might be worth having the insulation checked in case it needs relaying correctly or replacing to ensure maximum effectiveness and adequate ventilation.
If you are unfortunate that your loft gets a family of mice moving into it, then the insulation will make a nice warm home for them. Once the infestation has gone and their access to the loft is resolved, you should have your insulation checked as the material is likely to have been removed or damaged.
Who should check it?
You can do some basic visual checks on the loft insulation yourself and you can also check if you have the recommended 270mm of insulation, but you are best to call out a qualified and registered installer who can do a more thorough check, we can help you find a local installer. If the issue is related to the material or the workmanship, the installer can help you contact the relevant party to follow up on warranties or guarantees that could help with the cost of repairs.