Prepare your house for winter

We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but winter is coming and it’s time to get your house ready. Stay snug and save money with our simple winter preparation tips.

Mind the gap

Become a draught detective and save yourself between £25 and £50 a year by giving chilly breezes the heave-ho. Cover key holes with metal discs, fix letter-box brushes and put draught excluder strips (from DIY shops) around windows. Close off any rooms you don’t use much, and block off gaps at the bottom of doors with rolled-up newspapers, a sausage-shaped cushion or simply a traditional draught excluder.

Use this guide from the Energy Saving Trust to track down where draughts can come from.

Once fixed, you will have a toasty home, meaning you can turn your thermostat down: if you set your heating one degree lower, you could save around £85 over a year.

Love your layers

If you can bear to turn down the heating, layer up with onesies, woolly jumpers and thermal undies.

Keep kids warm with vests and warm jumpers, inside and outdoors. For extra cold nights, take a hot water bottle to bed with you, put an extra blanket over your duvet and wear socks for added warmth.

If you’re worried about children having hot water bottles, use them to heat the sheets and blankets before they get into bed, then take them out and put in your own bed instead. In the morning you can even use the water to give your indoor houseplants a drink.

Reveal the rad

Make sure furniture items such as sofas or cupboards aren’t blocking radiators – they will suck up a lot of the heat, stopping the warmth getting to the rest of the house. To make your radiator work harder, fit reflective panels to the wall behind. You can buy these from DIY stores or make your own with cardboard and kitchen foil.

Having air trapped in your radiator will also make it less efficient. If yours have cold spots, it could be time to bleed your radiators, releasing the air caught inside. You can do this yourself but if you’re not sure, call in a plumber.

Lavish your loft

A quarter of heat is lost through the roof in an uninsulated home – that’s a lot of hot air! Insulating your loft is easy and you can do it yourself. Although it costs around £100, it could save you £150 a year. Find out from your local council if you are eligible for any grants to help with insulation costs or for further information in England or Wales, call the Energy Saving Trust on 0300 123 1234.

To find out more about how to buy insulation go to Which.co.uk.

Draw your curtains on the cold

Drawing your curtains at dusk will banish any heat-stealing gaps. Thicker curtains will do the job even better. Curtains can be pricey, so search eBay, charity shops and sites like Freecycle for a pair that won’t break the bank.