With the climate changes currently being seen around the world, it’s cold outside and is only forecasted to keep getting colder. When the summer is over and long gone are the days of air conditioning, a strong fan and a cold glass of iced tea – heating your home becomes all the more important. One of the first options often considered when the mercury in the thermometer heads south is to turn up the central heating system and turn up the thermostat.
While this can be a costly option, what do you do to heat a house without central heating? Below are 12 cheap and easy tips for heating a house without resorting to using your central heating.
Regardless of whether your primary heating system runs on oil, natural gas or electricity, each time you need to turn up the thermostat in your home – can be an unpleasant experience for your wallet. The cost to you increases and can potentially get worse as your heating system ages and becomes less efficient to operate.
With or Without Central Heating
A newly installed, modern central heating system can have an energy efficiency rating of close to 95% but as your system begins to age (or if it was older to start with), it is not likely to run at such efficient levels. According to an article written by the Energy Saving Trust on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the efficiency levels of older furnace and boiler systems ranges from 56% to 70%. This means, at the very least 30% of the money you spend on heating your home is money down the drain.
Unfortunately, if you have an old central heating system and need it operating at its optimal efficiency, then it would require replacing your system. This is likely to be prohibitive for most households.
Replacing a boiler on a central heating system could cost anywhere from £2,000 to £10,000; depending on the size of your home and how many radiators you choose or need to replace. This cost is also based on a variety of additional factors including the type of heating system – night storage heaters (works by drawing electricity over the course of a few hours at night) or hot water radiators.
Other factors worth noting include the efficiency level of the heating system you are installing, the size of your home (and therefore required size of the system), the type of pipework that needs to be laid, the amount of labour that will be required and the time of year that you decide on changing your system.
This is by no means an exhaustive list but goes to show just how confusing, frustrating and expensive the process could end up being when trying to heat your home without central heating.
Asides from spending additional money every year on heating your home or changing your heating systems altogether, what are the cheapest options available to keep your home warm without using your central heating system.
Let some sunlight in during the day
Sunlight is an excellent form of natural heat which can save money. During the day, it is beneficial to open those curtains and take advantage of the free heat the sun can provide. As soon as the sun sets in the evening, close your curtains again to retain as much heat as possible.
Use glazing film on your windows
To have your windows re-glazed to reduce the cold air coming into your home can be quite costly. Fortunately, there is an affordable alternative in the form of a secondary window film which can be installed by anyone proficient in DIY. Window glazing film can also be used on exterior doors to cut down on heat loss through doors as well. If you get decent window glazing (See on Amazon) it also comes with anti-shatter glass protection, adding an extra layer of security to your windows.
Hang thick thermal curtains
Thick thermal curtains are an excellent way to help reduce heat loss through the windows; especially windows that are not energy efficient or have gaps around the window frame or weak seals. Curtains with a thermal lining can also be purchased and are an affordable option for keeping your home warm. You should also consider putting up a thermal-lined curtain in front of your entryway doors as well, to prevent heat from escaping through any gaps around the frame. This film is easily installed with double-sided tape and can help limit cold air drafts from entering your home.
Limit heat loss from your fireplace
If your fireplace is like most fireplaces in homes today, then you probably don't need it for heating your home and just have it there for decorative reasons. This means your fireplace is an open conduit to the outside and an area of major heat loss in your home. If you have a fireplace that is not used to heat your home, you should consider getting a chimney balloon or chimney draught excluder. Chimney balloons are quite reasonable in terms of cost and reduce heat loss in your home when placed within the chimney breast and inflated until hot air in your home is sealed off.
- Prevents heat loss from draughts up and down the chimney
- The chimney draught excluder can also prevent soot falling on the hearth
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Eliminate gaps and draught areas in your home
Take a moment to walk around and take stock of the places around your home that can be the source of draughts and cold air. A significant amount of heat can be lost through little cracks in your home. Places such as mail slots, keyholes, and cat or dog flaps can allow a considerable amount of heat to escape from your home each day. Many of these draught spots can be covered with plugs and covers made for draught excluding or filled with an insulating batten or foam filler.
Seal off the gaps beneath your doors
Do you have a basement door or a door that opens to the outside that you only use during the warmer weather? In addition to covering it with glazing film and a heavy curtain, try a draft sealer. These draft sealers can be made at home by stuffing a sock with some type of insulating material and placed in front of the door. They can also be purchased online at a reasonable cost. If you use a draft excluder with your door, then the draft sealer can help stop the draft that could be coming in from beneath the door and reduce the heat loss.
Keep the space in front of your radiators clear
If you have a couch, chair, or bookshelf in front of your radiator, the radiator cannot perform at its optimal ability. This happens for a number of reasons. The first thing to be aware of is that the item in front of your radiator absorbs some of the heat before it even makes it into the room. Secondly, the heat may not be able to get out from under or behind the piece of furniture to adequately heat your room. If you cannot move your couch, consider purchasing a radiator vent extender. These attach to your existing radiator vent and guide the air over a piece of furniture or cabinet so the full force of the heat can enter the room.
Close off Unused Areas of your House
If you have an unused room in your home, seal off the vents and radiators in the room and close the door. This will help retain heat in the other areas of the home that you are using. From time to time, you should air the room though, to prevent mould or mildew from taking hold.
Use Small Area Rugs
An astonishing amount of heat is lost through your floors if it is not properly insulated but getting beneath your floorboards is not always an option. Small area rugs can help to mitigate this heat loss and keep your feet warm at the same time. Rugs also absorb heat while your central heating unit is running, which will help to retain heat in your room while your heating system is not on.
Use Tin Foil
One way to prevent unnecessary heat loss from radiators, especially the ones attached to external walls, is to use heat-reflective aluminium foil behind the radiator. This prevents heat from disappearing through the wall by reflecting it back into the room. Foil specifically designed for this purpose is available to purchase for a reasonable cost. You could also use a strong, high-quality kitchen foil, but it may not be as effective in terms of reflective capability.
Add Loft Insulation
If the insulation in your loft is old, worn or sparse it is not operating beneficially. Poor insulation means the heat that is in your home is rising to the top of the room and right out through the roof. If you are adept at doing DIY, then you can save money by installing a little extra insulation on your own.
If you are unable to do that, then you can consider hiring a professional to come to do this task – at an additional cost. It may be a little expensive in the short term, but your home will retain heat much better throughout the cold months and you will find yourself using your central heating system a lot less.
If possible, use room space heaters set up on a timer. Run the space heaters for the required time needed to heat your home to your desired temperature and then have it shut off. Use the methods outlined above to keep the heat in your home and maintain temperature without using your central heating. If you use a timer, as opposed to your thermostat the heating system will not turn that often during the day, helping you reduce fuel usage.
Keeping your home warm and comfortable during the winter months can be challenging and sometimes costly. The rising cost often has many people wondering what the best ways to keep homes warm without central heating is. There are a variety of methods available including simple and easy fixes such using as thicker thermal curtains or moving your furniture around.
If you need something more effective in the long term, then new insulation in your loft or replacing your windows with triple glazed alternatives will help. Regardless of the method you choose, there is a range of alternatives that can suit every budget but still help to reduce the dependence on using the central heating system. Over the last decade or so, heating bills have only continued to rise, and it doesn't appear there will be a reverse in this trend at any time soon.
That said, saving money on heating a home without central heating is something most homeowners need to take into their hands to resolve. With a little ingenuity and adopting some of the tips listed above, you can reduce heat loss, reduce the upward rise of your heating bills and enjoy the winter season a little bit more.