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Retaining heat in your home

With fuel bills on the increase and the world’s stock of fossil fuels dwindling, it makes sense to try and make better use of what we are already using, and seeking out more efficient and environmentally-friendly ways to fuel the home is a good place to start.

Simple ways to save energy

There are many simple and cheap ways to conserve energy around the home.  Windows play an important part in retaining a room’s heat.  During sunlight hours, curtains and blinds should be pulled to allow as much solar energy as possible to heat the room, drawing them when the sun goes down to keep the heat inside.  Curtains hung so that they form a seal with walls will also help to keep in heat, especially if they have a thermal lining.  Curtains may not fit in with all types of interior décor, however, and a far more acceptable window dressing, and one that is extremely popular with interior designers at the moment, are window shutters.  Fitting tight against the window frame, they create a highly effective seal, and will fit in with all interior styles, being available in a wide range of unique colours and finishes.

Once the heat has been collected, it is necessary to retain it by ensuring that draughts are blocked up, either by draught excluders placed around the bottom of doors, brushes put into letterboxes and covers across keyholes, or making sure that seals around windows are tight.  Rugs should be laid on bare floorboards to prevent heat escaping through them, and ideally, lofts and cavity walls should be insulated.

Biomass systems

These methods, however, are only efficient at retaining heat in individual rooms when used with conventional heating systems.  It is far better to seek out ways of heating, and retaining that heat, for the whole property.  This is where a wood-fuelled heating system, also known as a Biomass system, comes in.

A Biomass system uses wood, which is invariably cheaper than other types of fuel, and an owner might be eligible for certain financial incentives with their use.  Biomass, by using wood, is environmentally-friendly, as when the fuel is burnt, the carbon dioxide released is balanced by how much the wood absorbed while it was growing, and as long as trees continue to be planted, it is an entirely renewable source.

There are certain things to consider regarding Biomass boilers.  They take up quite a lot of space and they get hungry, so storage for the fuel, whether the fuel is logs, wood pellets or even household organic waste, will also be required.  For bought-in fuel, such as log or wood pellets, it is far more cost-effective to buy in bulk.  Fortunately, maintenance of a Biomass boiler is fairly low, as much of the fuel almost fully breaks down, leaving ash which should need cleaning only once a week.

Once the Biomass system has been installed and is heating the whole property, the heat-retaining methods mentioned above can be employed to a much greater effect, but special mention and attention should be given to windows, i.e. having them double-glazed, ensuring that all seals are tight, and using efficient window dressings.

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