Some cheap and cheerful tips to help keep your home warm this winter

Oil prices have hit their lowest in over a decade! Yep, that was the lead story on RTE’s 2fm news last week, leading me to ask myself the question…is oil now cheaper than water; and with Applegreen, one of the country’s leading petrol stations being quoted as making a prediction that we could actually see a further drop in prices, perhaps now is the time to fill those tanks folks.

  However, if you live in a badly insulated home (and, like a lot of people, unfortunately we do), then you could end up wasting an awful lot of your hard-earned cash this winter because, no matter how much turf you throw on that fire – and hubby has the range going 24/7 – or how often you top up that oil tank, the fact is that a poorly insulated home, with only single-glazed windows, even ones you’ve insulated, and where the insides of the external walls are actually so cold your fingers nearly stick to them, will in my view require a serious rethink of your heating situation. As such I have a few tips that I hope will  get you started.

  During the day, make sure to open those curtains wide and allow the sunlight, yes, even the watery winter sunlight, to freely shine through. However, as soon as night falls, close them again in order to try and form a bit of a barrier to heat loss and to try and reduce those draughts.

  If possible, buy some nice ceiling to floor lined curtains – you’ll pick them up in the January sales – and hang them on the inside of your front door; this will do two things…(1) make a lovely colourful feature around your door frame and (2) help to eliminate those bitterly cold draughts.

  While you’re buying those curtains, why not invest in a rug and use it as a decorative wall hanging to add a pleasant texture and break up the monotony of that impersonal, cold-to-the-touch wall, and to provide extra insulation, giving your room warmth and depth.  You could repeat this theme throughout the house, bringing it right up to the bedrooms by hanging cheerful, fun and graphically designed rugs behind beds to create a cosy atmosphere. 

  If you have radiators, make sure they’re not blocked by furniture, after all, there’s no point in heating the back of a chair or a bookcase now is there?

  And finally homeowners, why not check out www.citizensinformation.ie regarding the Better Energy Homes Scheme whereby grants are provided in order to help improve energy efficiency in your home covering the following criteria; wall insulation, high efficiency boiler installation, solar heating and roof insulation.