How to add property value in winter through cold proof house measures
As winter approaches and leaves begin to fall, we prepare for the possibility of snowfall, though in England, that’s never a certainty! In such conditions a cold proof house ensures that its residents stay warm and snug even during the harshest of winters.
However, in the UK, where many houses are older, insulating and cold proofing properties can present numerous challenges. Which is why, houses which are properly insulated can offer higher house prices on the open market.
If you’re wanting to find out if a cold proof house can increase your property value, you’re in the right place! Read on to find out more…
How can I prepare my house for winter?
In a bid to ensure you have a cold proof house, you should spend a couple days every year preparing your house for winter, and it will greatly increase your comfort and safety in the colder months. The UK Government recommends that you keep your home at 18 degrees Celsius for a comfortable winter.
Check out our checklist below for ensuring your heating system is in top shape to safeguard your property against storms, frozen pipes and power outages, we will cover all aspects of winter home preparation.
Make sure you have heating
Whether you're in the camp of always having the heating on or prefer to save on your energy bill, preparing your heating system for winter is essential. Start by checking your boiler; make sure the pilot light is on or follow the instructions in the boiler manual to relight it if necessary.
To ensure safety and efficiency, consider hiring a Gas Safety Registered engineer for a professional service to prevent carbon monoxide leaks.
In order to get a cold proof house; you may also want to think about upgrading your boiler if it is more than 10 years old. Modern boilers tend to be far more efficient than older boilers.
Another effective way to enhance your heat efficiency is by insulating your hot water cylinder with a specialised jacket. These insulating jackets are readily available, usually costing around £15, and they can be easily installed without the need for a tradesperson.
To achieve the best results, it’s recommended to select a jacket with a thickness of at least 80mm. By insulating your hot water cylinder, you could potentially save around £20 annually on your energy bills.
Check your radiators and thermostat
Additionally, check your radiators; if they're hot at the bottom and cold at the top, they may need bleeding to remove trapped air.
You could also opt to fit radiator reflector panels to reflect heat emitted by your radiators back into the room, preventing it from escaping through external walls. This not only boosts the overall warmth of your living space by also contributing to energy savings.
Reflector panels prove most advantageous when affixed to uninsulated walls. If you have cavity walls, these panels could potentially save you around £15 per year, while for homes with solid walls, the savings could be even greater, amounting to approximately £17 annually.
The best cold proof houses have the most efficient heating system possible, which you can do by making sure that your thermostat is as accurate as possible. Older thermostats tend to degrade over time which could lead to delays in your boiler being switched on in the first place.
Nowadays, you will be able to buy smart thermostats which can be connected to smart hubs within your property.
Roof and chimney inspection
Winter storms can wreak havoc on your roof, so it's crucial to have it inspected by a qualified roofer. Ensure that roof slates or tiles are secure to prevent leaks.
Clear your gutters of debris to prevent ice build-up, which could lead to gutter damage. If you can't safely access your gutters, hire a roofer for this task.
If your home features an open chimney, you could use a chimney sweep to ensure that your chimney remains clear and safe. Moreover, for periods when the chimney is not in use, draught-proofing it can yield substantial energy savings, potentially amounting to around £20 per year.
There’s nothing like pipe care
Insulate your pipes, also known as lagging, to reduce heat loss and prevent them from freezing and bursting. One of the most common winter hazards is frozen pipes.
When temperatures drop significantly during the winter, the water inside pipes can freeze, which can cause pipes to burst when it expands. When the ice blockage thaws, it can lead to water damage within the home.
You can carry out cold weather proofing your home via:
Repairing any cracks or holes in outside walls near pipes to keep cold air out.
Maintaining a low but consistent heating level, around 4 degrees Celsius, even when you're away from home.
As a proactive measure you can familiarise yourself with the location of your stopcock, typically found under your kitchen sink, to quickly shut off the cold water supply in case of a burst pipe.
Create a power cut kit
Unrelated to creating a cold proof house, preparing for power cuts during winter can save you scrambling around in the dark in a panic.
Prepare for power outages by assembling a power cut kit that includes essentials like torches, candles, matches, blankets, a battery-operated radio, and, if possible, a small generator. If your property has an oil tank, ensure it's topped up before winter to avoid higher prices and running out later in the year.
Secure your garden
Protect items in your garden that aren't anchored to the ground, such as a greenhouse, plant pots, or your wheelie bin. Regularly clear leaves from your garden to prevent buildup. Check outdoor lights to ensure they're working, as darkness falls early in winter, and functional outdoor lighting can prevent accidents.
Enhance home security
Given the higher crime rates during winter's longer nights, take steps to improve your home security. Inspect your doors, fences, and gates to ensure they're in good working order.
Consider adding additional security measures such as CCTV cameras and motion sensor lights to deter potential criminals.
What is weather proofing your house for winter?
Weather proofing your house for winter is when you take various cold proof house measures to prepare and protect your home from the elements like cold weather, ice and wind. The goal is to increase your quality of life, energy efficiency and safety during the winter months.
What heating systems are most effective for maintaining a winter proof home?
When it comes to maintaining a winter proof home, the choice of heating system plays a vital role. However, the most suitable system can vary based on your property type. The following heating systems are commonly considered the most effective for ensuring a winter-proof home:
Gas central heating
LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) central heating
Electric central heating
Oil central heating
Renewable heating systems
Infrared central heating
How do you keep a poorly insulated house warm?
Keeping a poorly insulated house warm can be a challenging task, especially if you're adamant on holding back on insulating it properly. In order to cold proof house, you don’t necessarily have to spend hundreds of pounds on insulation installation.
Here are some of our favourite ways to increase the comfort and energy efficiency of your living space on a budget:
Layer up with soft furnishings
Add an extra layer of cosiness to your bedroom or living room by using soft furnishings. Invest in weighted blankets, bed throws, and plush cushions to provide extra warmth and comfort during colder months.
Lay down thick rugs in areas where you spend the most time, as they will not only add a touch of warmth to your decor but also act as an insulator, preventing heat loss through the floor.
Install heavy curtains and blinds
By installing heavy curtains and blinds, you can reduce draughts around windows frames and doors. Thermal or blackout curtains are effective at retaining heat and blocking out cold drafts.
Seal gaps and cracks
Identify any seals or cracks in your home, like windows, floorboards and walls. You can use weatherstripping and caulk to seal gaps around windows and doors.
Door draught excluders:
Install door draught excluders or draft stoppers at the base of exterior doors to prevent cold air from creeping inside and save you around £30 a year. Alternatively, you could also use a draught snake instead.
How can I cold proof my house?
Cold proofing, often referred to as weatherproofing or winterising, is the process of minimising heat loss and preventing frigid draughts from infiltrating your home. A cold proof house will not only enhance the energy efficiency of your property but also elevate comfort levels while yielding cost savings.
The number one way to improve the cold proofing on your home is to insulate the walls, roof, loft, floors, window and doors. It’s a common misconception that heat solely ascends; in reality, it seeks colder air in all directions, which often leads it upwards. Therefore, insulating various parts of your home is essential to combat heat loss from every angle.
In the fortunate event that your property shares a wall with another home, whether it’s a detached house, semi-detached structure, or even a flat, you stand to benefit from reduced heat loss on that side, provided your neighbours also employ heating measures.
However, it’s important to note that this advantageous thermal buffer doesn’t translate to heat gain, necessitating that you continue to heat your home to maintain a comfortable interior temperature.
How much heat is being lost from different parts of my house?
The amount of heat escaping from your house will depend on the type of house you have and what cold proofing measures you already have in place. As reported by uswitch, in an average UK household, the distribution of heat loss is as follows:
Walls are the primary culprits when it comes to heat loss, accounting for approximately 30% of the total heat loss of your home. This is due to exterior walls being exposed to the weather/elements and if not adequately insulated, they can conduct heat outwards, resulting in a colder interior.
The roof is another significant source of heat loss, contributing to roughly 25%. Heat looks to transfer to colder areas, and if your roof lacks property insulation or has gaps, it allows warm air to escape.
Windows and doors
Windows and doors collectively contribute to around 20% of heat loss in an average UK house. These openings are vulnerable points where heat can escape if they are not well-sealed or insulated. Properly fitted windows and doors can reduce this heat loss.
Although it accounts for a smaller percentage of heat loss compared to other areas, the floor sill contributes to 10% of overall heat loss. Insulating your floors can help mitigate this loss, especially in properties with suspended floors or unheated spaces beneath.
How else can I cold proof my house?
While many new build homes are equipped with features suitable for cold weather, older properties may benefit from some upgrades to bring them up to par.
Most older homes in the UK were built with sash, casement or tilt and turn windows, which were usually single glazed windows. It could be worth looking to upgrade these windows, to have double glazing or triple glazing windows instead.
Improving the glazing of windows can greatly add to the cold proofness of a property, as it allows for superior insulation, and prevents draughts.
It may be worth updating new build home windows as well to low emissivity (Low-E glass), which features an invisible coating that reflects heat back into your home.
Do different types of doors improve insulation?
In the pursuit of creating a fully insulated home, you might be curious about the role of doors in winter proofing houses. The simple answer is yes! Among the most energy-efficient door options are hardwood doors, renowned for their excellent heat and noise insulation capabilities.
The uPVC door is a commonly chosen alternative, providing a cost-effective option compared to hardwood doors while maintaining efficiency due to its construction, which ensures impressive thermal insulation and the retention of warm air within the property.
Another effective choice for winter proofing houses is composite doors. Comprising multiple layers of different materials, they can replicate the thickness and insulation properties of solid timber doors, making them a valuable addition to your insulation efforts.
How do I insulate my house for winter UK?
Insulation regulates the temperature inside your home by impeding the transfer of heat in and out. Heat naturally gravitates towards colder areas, potentially leading to heat loss through spaces like your attic or roof during the winter months.
To counteract this heat loss, insulation serves as a barrier, inhibiting the movement of heat (and sound) through its material. The effectiveness of insulation hinges on its thickness and density. The thicker and denser the insulation, the more it obstructs heat flow, maintaining a more stable indoor temperature.
Insulation is typically installed within walls, cellars and lofts, as these are the prime areas where heat transfer occurs. To make informed decisions about the best insulation types for your home, it is advisable to consult with a local tradesperson or insulation contractor.
What types of insulation are there?
Blanket batt and roll insulation
The most common type of insulation comes in rolls or batts made from materials like fibreglass, mineral wool and natural fibres. It’s designed to fit between wall studs, ceiling joists and floor joists.
Concrete block insulation
Insulation materials are integrated into concrete blocks during construction to provide thermal resistance. This method is commonly used in masonry walls.
Foam board or rigid foam
Rigid foam insulation panels are made of polystyrene, polyisocyanurate or polyurethane. They are installed with weatherproof facing on the exterior of walls, roofs and foundations to provide excellent insulation.
Loose-fill and blown-in insulation
These types of insulation consist of small particles, such as fibreglass, cellulose, or mineral wool, that are blown or poured into wall cavities, attics or other hard-to-reach areas.
Radiant barriers and reflective insulation systems
Radiant barriers are installed in lofts to reflect heat away from the living space. They work by reflecting radiant heat, helping to keep your home cooler.
Rigid fibreboard insulation
Rigid fibreboard insulation is made from compressed, high-density fibres and is commonly used for exterior wall sheathing and in roof assemblies.
Spray-foam and foamed-in-place insulation
Spray foam insulation is applied as a liquid that expands and hardens, providing an airtight seal. It’s used in various places, including walls, roofs and crawl spaces.
Structural insulated panels
Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) are pre-made insulated panels consisting of an insulating foam core sandwiched between two structural facings. They are used for walls, roofs and floors.
How much of a difference does adding insulation make?
Incorporating insulation into your property can have a profound impact, potentially retaining up to 80% of the heating and cooling that would otherwise escape. This means that insulation acts as a formidable barrier, effectively regulating indoor temperatures, keeping your home comfortably pleasantly warmer during winter’s chill.
Insulation dramatically reduces heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer, which means your home is more energy efficient all year round, resulting in lower heating costs and cooling bills.
Why is my house so cold even with insulation?
While insulation is an essential factor in maintaining indoor comfort, it’s possible that your insulation has been poorly fitted or that gaps exist in certain areas. This could mean that the heat is escaping to outside of these spaces and is causing your house to become cold.
When cold proofing houses, several indicators may suggest that your insulation was poorly installed. These include freezing walls, visible holes in the exterior walls, the presence of rodents such as mice, excess moisture or condensation, the development of mould, noticeable drafts, or an alarming increase in your energy bills.
Is upgraded insulation worth it?
If your home remains uncomfortably cold despite having insulation in place, it’s advisable to consult an insulation specialist. They can assess your insulation’s effectiveness and determine whether additional insulation is necessary or if any existing insulation needs to be reinstalled correctly.
It’s essential to note that it’s possible to over-insulate a home. Excessive insulation can hinder proper ventilation, leading to higher moisture retention and potentially compromising indoor air quality. It may even increase the risk of mould growth.
Does improving insulation increase home value?
With the increasing amount of new build properties entering the market, which are built with insulation and energy efficiency in mind, it's vital that you try and meet the standards of these properties.
One measurable way you could increase the potential value added to your home is through increasing your EPC rating. An Energy Performance Certificate rating increase from D to B could dramatically increase your home value by up to 14%.
EPC ratings are increased by the implementation of properly installed insulation, double glazing, new boilers and low-energy light bulbs. By using these simple things you can transform your space into a cold proof house.
Many potential buyers are money and sustainability conscious, so ensuring your home doesn’t spend excess heat through the winter can be very attractive. Improving insulation is an effective way to increase the value of your home, especially when you consider the numerous benefits it offers.
Winter proofing your house through better insulation not only keeps your house warm and comfortable during the cold winter months but also helps save energy, reduce heating bills and keep your toes from getting chilly.
By insulating your home properly, you can prevent heat from escaping and cold winter air seeping in, making your heating system more efficient. Insulation options such as cavity wall insulation, loft insulation and pipe insulation are some of the best ways to winter proof your home.
Many insulation companies will offer a 40 year warranty on their insulation products. Depending on your initial investment in the installation, this warranty can offer a substantial return on investment, potentially exceeding your costs tenfold over the warranty period.
Additionally, sealing gaps around doors and windows, using a programmable thermostat and checking your insulation to ensure it’s in good condition are smart steps that could save you money on your heating bills.
So, whether you’re in the dead of winter or the milder fall and winter seasons, a cold proof house and improving your home’s insulation is a valuable investment that can pay off in the long run, both in terms of comfort and home value.