With UK energy prices still on the rise, and winter once again creeping up on us, now may be a good time to evaluate how you intend to keep your house warm, and just how much these methods are going to set you back financially. Regardless of your current plan or set up, we have a few tips to not only keep the rooms of your house warm, but to do so in a cost effective way.
Our expertise is flooring, and certain varieties of flooring that we stock are better at insulating and promoting warmth than others; laminate, tiled and wood flooring in particular can all undermine the sensation or presence of warmth in rooms that they are installed in. The National Energy Foundation (NEF) states that you can lose up to 10% of your home’s heat through floors that lack insulation. So it’s clear that counter-acting or mitigating this heat loss is key to improving personal comfort, and saving on energy bills.
Many would suggest that less warmth is the price you pay for style, but we staunchly believe that you can have the best of both worlds; a cosy and warm, yet aesthetically pleasing floor. The tips below go some way to redressing the balance, conserving as much heat as possible, while having minimal impact on, or adding to, the existing style and flooring of the rooms in your house.
Installing additional carpets, throws and wall hangings can all help to promote warmth in a given room, primarily through providing additional insulation to the floors and walls, while, in the case of throws, allowing furniture to retain more heat. Carpets in particular counteract the comparative lack of insulation provided by wooden, laminate and tiled flooring; with the added advantage that they can be removed during the warmer summer months, should their services no longer be needed.
Thicker curtains can also make a big difference, preventing warm air from escaping outside through windows, while also acting as a barrier to cold air forcing its way through.
Lighting and colour can make a massive psychological difference to the temperature and feeling of a room; and sometimes that’s all you need to make a big difference! When it comes to a colour scheme for a room, especially one with flooring that provides less insulation, pick warmer colours such as reds, browns and yellows. Bright, warming colours such as these won’t save you from hypothermia, but they will promote a more comfortable feeling of warmth in rooms that tend to be a bit cooler than desired.
If you intend to purchase rugs, throws, curtains and wall hangings, as mentioned before, purchasing your selection in warm or bright colours hits two birds with one stone, creating additional physical and psychological warmth.
Lighting can also go a long way to enhancing the warmth of a room; orange or yellow tinted light bulbs can make a positive psychological impact. Increasing the number of alternative light sources that you have in a particular room can also increase the sensation of warmth and heat in the room, while also providing a not insignificant amount of actual heat from the greater number of bulbs.
A more expensive, yet versatile, option is to invest in portable heating for your home. While the cost of operating an electric, gas or oil heater is high, their mobility actually makes them quite efficient, you only need to heat the room or area that you are currently in, rather than heating the entire house at once.
A less cost-prohibitive alternative would be to construct a candle heater; as the name suggests the only fuel for this particular is a candle; the construction of such a device stores and magnifies a candle’s heat output; creating a handy and efficient portable heat source.
One of the primary ways that heat is lost within a room is from air circulation; the further heat can spread away from its source, the more the heat will transfer away and dissipate. An unsecured room, as well as letting heat out, will also let draughts in, replacing the rapidly the thinly spreading warmth with cold air from outside the room.
Therefore, an easy way to maximise warmth in a particular room is to minimise the amount of air circulation taking place, and there are fortunately a number of easy ways to do so. For one, ensure that you close doors when you enter or exit the room, to prevent unnecessary heat loss. Placing draft excluders at the bottom of doors also prevents small, yet problematic over time, drafts from affecting the room. These come in the permanent variety, such as brushes or rubber door sweeps, to temporary ones, such as towels or bespoke draught excluding soft toys.
Blocking the space between an outside wall and a curtain rail also helps to prevent heat escaping a room, and draughts sneaking in. As with stopping under-door draughts, there are permanent or temporary solutions to this problem from custom built wooden ‘caps’, to simply plugging the gap with fabric or a spare scarf. If the room that you are endeavouring to keep warm contains a chimney, especially one that is rarely or never used, it may be worth looking into permanently blocking it, or at the very least purchasing a chimney balloon, to temporarily block the chimney when necessary.
Underfloor heating is an efficient, cost effective method of heating a room; a method which ensures complete heat coverage of the room, due to heat radiating from the entirety of the floor, as opposed to being circulated by a convection current from radiators or portable heaters. To add even further efficiency, underfloor heating can be controlled by individual thermostats in placed in every room in which it has been installed; no energy is wasted as you only need the heating activated in rooms which you are currently using.
Underfloor heating serves as an ideal solution to traditionally cool flooring options such as tiled, laminate or wooden floors, as the heat rising through them directly counteracts any negative effect they would ordinarily have on a room’s warmth. This makes underfloor heating particularly useful in bathrooms, conservatories and kitchens.
Compared to the other solutions detailed above, underfloor heating is probably the most costly to install, but at the same time, offer the best efficiency and greatest return of investment. Underfloor heating requires minimal maintenance once installed; providing reliable, efficient heating for long periods of time. The precise lifespan of underfloor heating depends entirely on the variety of underfloor heating that you have chosen; electrical underfloor heating systems can last for as long as 30 years, for example, while the type of piping used for wet (hot water) underfloor heating can last for over 25 years.
At Flooring Megastore, we stock a wide variety of underfloor heating compatible flooring, as well as specialist underfloor heating compatible underlay, to ensure that you get the most out of your underfloor heating system.