DIY hints and tips
There are a number of things you can do at home to help keep you cosy over the colder months. Here are a few hints and tips to inspire the experienced Do It Yourself enthusiast or handy person. If you’re confident in your abilities it’s still important to consider seeking professional advice on what would be appropriate for your home before you begin. For example, when reducing draughts at all points around a property it’s important to ensure there’s adequate ventilation to prevent the build up of moisture and condensation.
Save energy by insulating
A simple way that you can save your energy is by insulating your loft. If you haven’t got any insulation in your loft now, insulating it could save you around £135 a year on your heating bill, and can pay back in less than two years.
The Centre for Sustainable Energy has a helpful advice leaflet on how to insulate your loft.
There may also be grants available to you to help pay for an installer to insulate your loft for free. For further information look at the government’s Simple Energy Advice website.
Another great energy saver is cavity wall insulation. It pays back the initial cost in less than three years. Again, the Energy Saving Advice Service can provide independent expert advice, can direct you to installers and let you know if you could qualify for grant funding.
TOP TIP – After you have upgraded your loft insulation you will need to insulate any exposed water pipes in the loft to prevent them from freezing in winter.
Filling the gaps
The gaps around pipe work and door frames can be effectively filled with foam filler and trimmed to “make good” ready for plaster and finishing.
The Centre for Sustainable Energy has produced an advice leaflet on secondary glazing, which is a low cost alternative to installing new double-glazed windows. Below are some tips on how to achieve DIY secondary glazing in your home.
DIY magnetic internal secondary glazing
Sticky magnetic tape can be bought online or from DIY stores cut to length around the outer frame. If possible get white to match the paintwork or spray with car paint and allow to dry before you put it up.
PVC sheets can be bought online or from DIY stores – order cut to the size of each of your windows or purchase by the meter and cut at home. You will need them to fit neatly over the frame.
Apply the sticky side to the external frame paintwork. Cut the lengths that will be stuck to the PVC. Lay them on to the already stuck magnetic strip, ensuring they face the right way so that they attract rather than repel.
Peel of the “back” of the tape which should be facing you so that the magnetic strips are where you want them sticky side out, then carefully place the cut PVC panel to the window frame, get it straight then press against the sticky strip to attach. Run a length of white electrical tape neatly over the outside edges to hide the magnetic strip and make it look more in keeping with the window frame. Remove the panel and run a length over the rough edges to tidy them up.
Put them up and see the results.
In summer (or to clean), just pull the magnets apart. Then put them back up as before.
Warning – Should you ever want to remove them permanently, you may find old paintwork may come away when you peel off the magnetic strip. You can remove the sticky residue with detergent or specific “sticky stuff remover”. Always read the label to ensure it is safe to use on paintwork. Keep a close watch to make sure that too much condensation or damp doesn’t build up in between the PVC sheet and the wooden frames causing the paint to peel or even rot the frame if the wood is wet for too long.
Again, you can look to see if there are any local professionals who are able to do this, or you can have a glazing company make hinged professional secondary glazing.
Draught bust your floorboards
Masking tape can be folded in half sticky side out and pushed down between the floorboards so that it springs out and closes the gap. There are tapes available on the market that are specifically made to do this job. Have a look online or check your local DIY store to find out more about them.
Decorator’s caulk is another method of filling in the thinner gaps. If it’s messy you can wipe over with a damp cloth to tidy it up.
If you were thinking of throwing away your old loft insulation, it can be reused under the floorboards between the joists.
Older double glazing
For older double glazing that has draughts coming from around the external edge of the units, you can run decorator’s caulk around the join between the unit and the wall and then wipe with a damp cloth so there are no messy bits showing.
Keeping your hot water hot
Insulating jackets that cover your hot water tank are available online or at a DIY store. Modern jackets are more efficient at retaining the heat and cost very little. To find out more you can read the Centre for Sustainable Energy’s handy information leaflet.
Another way to retain the heat in your hot water is use foam insulation for the pipes, which is called lagging. It is quite easy to trim to size and simple to fit. Lag the pipes that are visible around the hot water tank, it will reduce unwanted heat loss.