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There sure are a lot of ways to keep your home warm during this season, and while the majority rely on central heating systems, skyrocketing heating bills can pile up. More importantly, environmental issues arise.
The biggest question is, are you sure that you’re keeping your home warm in an ethical and eco-friendly manner?
You may be keeping your home warm, but at the expense of your energy bill and increased environmental footprint. The ethical solution to soaring-high heating bills is very simple — make your heating system do less work. The idea is to trap in as much heat as possible so you don’t have to rely on it as much and contribute less to carbon emissions.
Unfortunately, a home that is not well-insulated loses a lot of heat. That’s one of the most probable reasons why your energy bill won’t go down. And if your insulation is lacking, you’ll have the same problem keeping your home cool in the summer.
While the fact remains that energy efficiency is a prevalent issue amongst households, it’s not something that can’t be overcome. To make things even better, you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot to keep your home warm during the chilling winter.
Here are five ethical ways to keep warm and comfy this season
Find and seal those gaps
Did you know that 40% of heat is lost through doors, windows, and floors? Windows, in particular, are often left unnoticed, but they’re one of the most accessible places to work on to save energy.
Making your windows energy-efficient is an excellent investment and will most definitely reward you later on. For starters, they’ll keep you fresh under the scorching heat of summer and they’ll also keep you warm during cold winters.
They work by forming an effective barrier between the inside and out. The air inside your home is kept in, and the outside is kept out. So hot summer air will be kept out, keeping your house nice and cool, but in the winter the warm air will be kept in, meaning you’ll stay nice and toasty without cranking up the heating.
And while you’re at it, check other places where it’s likely for heat to escape to. Look for gaps between your doors and floors. Examine the walls and the roof/loft too. A laser thermometer is an eco-friendly way to identify the places where heat is escaping to in your home.
The next thing that you need to do is seal the gaps. Don’t worry, it’s relatively easy to do and you can even approach it the DIY way. But if you don’t have the time, and you have the money to spend, getting a professional to do the job is also a good choice.
As well as short-term benefits in reduced heating costs, when you come to sell your house, keeping your home properly insulated gets you a better chance of acing that building survey. Insulation is one of the things that a surveyor will never miss as it’s a vital factor in preserving energy.
Ground source heat pumps
A ground source heat pump system works by harnessing natural heat from underground. These pumps use pipes to extract the heat and transfer them to your home. It can be used for underfloor heating, to heat water, and radiators to keep your house warm.
They work in a similar fashion as air source heat pumps. Unfortunately, air source heat pumps are less efficient in winter due to low Coefficient of Performance (COP) levels.
Unfortunately, ground source heat pumps only account for 1% of the heating systems in the UK. The other 1% are air source heat pumps and the majority (85%), operate using gas boilers. Here are the reasons why:
- Initial installation can be costly starting at £10,000 or above.
- Large homes take longer to warm up using ground source heat pumps
- They are not suitable for properties that already have existing gas central heating systems.
- The running costs (electricity) of these pumps are more than triple than that of gas.
The good news is that experts are projecting a rapid growth of ground source heat pumps. This is mainly due to the Renewable Heat Incentive initiative. Under this campaign, you can get paid using renewable sources of heat provided that you meet the requirements.
It may sound silly, but the truth is, body heat is a very effective tool to keep you and your loved ones warm and cosy. Your pet dog or cat will also do as a cuddling buddy, with 13% of people using this as an alternative method to keep warm, and I’m pretty sure they’ll love it!
It doesn’t necessarily have to be skin-to-skin contact. Sitting together with friends, family, or your partner while watching TV should be more than enough. Get your friends and relatives to gather in the living room, for instance.
Have a nice chat with them over a hot cup of tea instead of tinkering with mobile phones and gadgets. Talk to them. Not only is this a nice way of getting warm, but it will also encourage better and stronger relationships.
And it works!
The damper in your fireplace should be closed
ONLY if you’re not using it.
Finding and sealing all the gaps in your house should be enough. However, if you still feel a cold draft and you think your heating bill is still unusually high, your fireplace might be the culprit. Specifically, it’s probably the damper in your fireplace.
You see, having an open damper is very much similar to having an open window in your home. When you’re using the fireplace, the open damper prevents smoke from filling up your house. But when it’s not in use, it becomes an entryway for cold air to come in.
Surprisingly, it’s something that a lot of people don’t notice. After all, as long as your fireplace can keep you warm, that’s all that you need. But if you want your home to be truly energy-efficient and you don’t want even a tiny fraction of heat to escape, better check the damper too.
Oh, and don’t forget to open it before you use the fireplace unless you want your home to be filled up with smoke.
Cook using traditional stoves
Traditional stoves are those that use a mixture of fuel types like wood, coal, wood pellets and peat. These things nowadays are more considered as a fashion statement. An old-looking stove in anyone’s home gives off that classic and cosy vibe.
In addition to complimenting your home fashionably, it can also help in keeping the temperature at optimal levels. Before the days of central heating, the cooker was more than just a cooking device, but it was also how many families heated their homes.
Best of all, it saves a lot of energy as well though residual heating. This means that your heating system doesn’t have to work so hard by itself.
And since it’s the Holidays, now is the perfect time for casseroles, stews and roasts!
Time to get warm
Keeping warm this winter doesn’t need to come at the expense of the environment, and putting a few of these methods into place can easily reduce your carbon footprint as well as your energy bills.
If nothing else, you can use it as a good excuse to cosy up with friends and family and enjoy a hot drink and a chat together.