Everyone has that one room at home that is nothing more than a vacuum for hot air. No matter how high you crank the heating up. No matter how big the draught excluder you pop under the door is. And no matter how much you have a power-sucking blow heater on, you just can’t take the chill out of the air.
So what can you do to improve, or completely overhaul, this perpetual heating anomaly and avoid a winter of discontent? Well, here are five fool-proof ways you can change how to heat your home, and there won’t be a plug-in heater in sight!
1. Learn Your Valves
Most homes will have thermostatic valves on the radiator. They’re the valves which you can twist around and will either have a little volume style bar as an indicator or be numbered 1-5. Do you tend to find that in the coldest rooms, you’ll crank it up to 5 and not see any difference?
Guess what that means? You’re wasting energy like it’s going out of style. Most people misunderstand completely what a thermostatic valve does. When you’re moving it up to 5, you’re not asking the radiator to blast heat; you’re telling the valve that you want it to match a specified temperature.
Unluckily for most people, the number temperature is usually listed on the box the valve comes in, which most people won’t have, but generally speaking 5 on your valve is around 30°C. Anytime you have it up there, the radiator is going to pump away and waste energy continually. If you turn the valve down to even 2, and it’s hot to touch, but the room is still cold, the radiator isn’t the problem; the insulation is.
2. Measure 27cm in your roof
Cold rooms tend to be upstairs in homes, especially the likes of box rooms where no one spends that much time. If your upstairs is perpetually cold, it could be due to heat loss through the ceiling. If you aren’t insulating upstairs, anytime the heating is on, you’re wasting money.
So what does the 27cm mean? That is the ideal minimum thickness you need from insulation in walls and your roof. Think of the cold room like popping something in the oven to cook when it’s wrapped in foil. If you essentially “wrap” the room with better insulation, heat is going to want to stay in there.
3. Go Electric
In problem rooms, the biggest issue can be from radiators in bad locations, or poor pipework continually causing low pressure. If your radiator is never heating up as you need it to, and you’re wasting all that energy, just get rid of it and opt for an electric radiator.
Electric radiators are hung on your wall like a normal radiator, and only need to be plugged (not plumbed) in to get going. They use much less electricity than a blow heater and do a better job of bringing a space up to temperature. I’d recommend looking at Trade Radiators electric range for an idea of what electric radiators look like (spoiler: just like standard radiators) and how much one can cost.
4. Where’s Your Sofa?
Sometimes the most straightforward solutions come from placement, especially if your radiators are obscured. For example, if your living room is the spot which is always cold and your sofa is directly in front of it, there’s your problem right there. The heat from radiators does travel up and around a room, but blocking the front of a radiator impedes circulation, and less cold air gets the chance to move under the radiator and get warm.
5. Have some reflection
This last tip is a bit of an old school idea but is still quite practical. If your radiator is hung on an outside wall, where you know there isn’t a great deal of insulation, you might want to get a reflector panel installed. Essentially, it’s a thin metal sheet which is slipped in behind your radiator and aims to stop warm air from instantly being drawn out.
You can get decent hard reflectors for under £30, and even some foil sheet for around £5 in trade stores.
I hope you found these tips helpful in battling your cold rooms, and there is at least a tip or two you can put in to practice.