The energy crisis has seen steep energy price rises for a complex mix of reasons. This trend is likely to continue to worsen. The energy price cap will increase by 54% in April and again in October. Experts estimate that up to 50% of the UK’s population could be in fuel poverty by the end of this year, facing annual energy bills upwards of £3,000 and having to choose between heating and eating. If you are in that situation please let us know! However, there are things you can do for very little to be more comfortable/save money/reduce emissions in the long term.
Some of us are still working from home so need to keep the heating on more than usual which will further bump up the bills.
Here are three short how-to films https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vMPW6LBdf4 on identifying and fixing draughts by Hyde Farm Climate Action Network, where they invented the term Draught-Busting. The excellent strips they use, suitable for timber doors and windows are available here https://shop.stormflame.com/schlegel-q-lon-seals-84-c.asp. Don’t forget to order the special nails. You can do this draught-busting without opening the windows.
If you want to use more readily available draught-strips you will have to open the window so try and do it when the wind isn’t howling and put a towel under the room door to reduce heat loss from the rest of the home.
Sides of sash windows need a special nylon velour strip https://www.screwfix.com/p/stormguard-self-adhesive-brush-pile-weatherstrip-white-5m-3-pack/30322 to allow the sashes to slide. Good hardware stores stock them. For the top, bottom and meeting rail and any side or top opening windows or doors, foam draft-strip comes in various thicknesses (and qualities). Stormguard is reputable and the P section rubber one is good. Check your gaps before you buy!
Check under skirting boards. Decorators caulk (a form of mastic) works for that. Draughts between floorboards are more difficult. Draughtex.co.uk looks like a solution and maybe for skirting boards too. Underlay and carpets are a quick way. Newspaper under rugs can help in the short term.
Open chimneys are huge holes for air to exit or enter by. A solution is the chimney umbrella: https://www.chimella.com/
Check around outside doors (or internal flat front doors) and fit draught-strip of appropriate thickness. Check your cellar door (if you have one) and do the same. Look at your letterbox. Magflap.co.uk is highly recommended. And other places draughts can get in. Check around where pipes exit and enter the building. A can of expanding foam can cure that. Close curtains at dusk. Lag any heating pipes in the basement, if possible and prevent draughts where they come up through the floor.
Consider fitting reflective panels behind your radiators, especially on external walls. https://www.victorianplumbing.co.uk/radflek-radiator-reflector-sheets-with-radstik-3-pack or https://heatkeeper.co.uk/
A reduced flow showerhead can save you tens of pounds a year on water and energy bills. https://www.ecocamel.com/ (see Which? buying guide https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/electric-showers/article/how-to-buy-the-best-eco-shower-head/eco-shower-heads-buying-guide ). Consider leaving the plug in after a shower or bath to allow the precious heat to escape into the house rather than the sewer. Wash the bath when you let it out or it will be slippery.
Most of the solutions will pay for themselves this winter and your comfort will improve hugely. Please share this widely and feedback and share any other solutions you may have. Stay warm and healthy. Please be aware that some who need these solutions may not be getting this communication. Consider printing and passing on to those. You may be noticing draughts that you’ve never bothered with before. Like we shouldn’t waste a crisis to learn how to do things better we shouldn’t waste a good winter wind to work out where the draughts are coming from on the cold side of the building. That wind can be stealing a whole lot of your well-being. Many dwellings have the equivalent of a permanently open window through which your precious heat escapes. Energy Saving Trust has good general advice. https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/home-energy-efficiency/energy-saving-quick-wins