Winter months bring more demand to your boiler and heating system and expensive heating bills in winter have seemed to become an inevitability. However, there are ways you can increase the heat efficiency of your home and reduce the total price of your heating bills with some easy DIY.
Insulation is one of the most well-known methods of improving the heat efficiency of your home. This includes the two most popular methods: roof insulation and pipe insulation. Insulation works to trap the heat inside your home and reduce the amount of heat that radiates to the cold outdoors. This increased efficiency allows you to heat your home for cheaper in the long term.
Many think that installing roof insulation is a task only for professional roofers and insulation fitters. However, you can buy effective roof insulation for your home and install it yourself.
When fitting roof insulation, you will need to measure the floorspace of your attic to purchase the correct amount to tightly fit that space. Keep in mind that it may be wise to buy a little extra to leave some margin for DIY error.
There are many types of roof insulation material for your home:
Mineral wool is by far the cheapest option for roof insulation. However, this comes with sacrificed performance. Mineral wool can allow more heat to escape than some of the more recent innovations.
Polystyrene roof insulation is a lightweight and relatively cheap option, but this option is known to be especially unfriendly to the environment, due to the production process of the material and the toxic smoke that is emitted when the material is burned.
Reflective Foil insulation is one of the newer options available. It is a lightweight, reflective material that prevents conductive and radiated heat loss from your home.
Pipe insulation is just as useful for saving heat energy. The pipes in your house are generally made from Copper, which is a very effective conductor of heat. They will rise in temperature when the hot water passes through them, and the cold air on the exterior surface of the pipes allows heat to radiate more easily. This is where pipe insulation comes in.
Pipe insulation provides an insulated barrier between the copper pipe and the cold air surrounding it, meaning less of the heat from the water is lost before reaching your radiators, saving you money on monthly heating bills.
Pipes can be insulated with a polyethylene tubing sleeve that is easily applied over unprotected pipes. It is a very easy fix that will improve the efficiency of your heating system.
Over time, radiators may begin to gather air pockets inside them. Air is an effective insulator of heat, so this will negatively affect how much heat is emitted from the radiator, which means you will have to put your heating to a higher setting in order to reach the desired temperature.
To prevent this, you should regularly bleed your radiators, clearing your radiator of the air pockets.
To bleed your radiators, you will need to turn off your heating system and get a radiator key to turn the valve at the top of the radiator. Once the air has released and liquid starts to be released from the valve, retighten and seal it back up.
You can then check the pressure by looking at the pressure gauge on your boiler. The optimal pressure for a boiler is between 1 and 1.5 bar, with 1.3 being the most effective.
Boiler check-ups and maintenance:
To ensure that your boiler is able to work efficiently and keep you warm all winter, investing in boiler insurance will give you access to engineers who can diagnose and fix broken heating systems and faulty parts.
There are ways you can check the health of your boiler at home to decide whether a professional check-up is needed.
- Check for unusual noises that could signify leaks or faulty components within the heating system.
- Warning lights appearing on your boiler to indicate a fault.
- A significant drop or increase in boiler pressure above or below the recommended 1.3 bar.
Any of these signs are an indication that your boiler needs to be professional plumbing and heating services for it to reach its maximum efficiency and ensure it works all winter.