Keep your home warm this winter

With energy bills a worry for many people, the National Association of Estate Agents is encouraging property owners to take advantage of the simple solutions currently on the market that can help properties retain heat and save on energy costs.

For those looking to make these improvements, the NAEA has the following top tips:

* Cavity-wall insulation – Although this involves a rather noisy installation process, the benefits can be felt instantly. Insulating your walls harnesses the heat generated in the home meaning substantial savings on your energy bills. A specialist installer should always be sought for this type of job so ensure you choose a member that is Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA) qualified;

* Draught-Stripping – Installing specialist stripes of foam around windows and doors will significantly reduce draughts and air permeation in your home, helping to retain the heat and ultimately saving you money. Costing around £50-£80 depending on whether you install it yourself or not, draught-stripping can save up to £20 per year for a gas-heated semi-detached house;

* Replacing your boiler – Replacing your old boiler with a new one can certainly help to reduce emissions and reduce your bills at the same time. Although the boiler scrappage scheme has now come to an end, trade-in incentives are still available for this kind of purchase. It is worth checking out the funding database on the Energy Saving Trust site for specific details on what is out there: www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/

* Loft Insulation – This well-established efficiency measure offers a cheap and easy way to top up insulation already installed. Boosting the thickness of the insulation to between 250 and 300mm thickness is recommended for optimum efficiency;

* Pipe Cladding – Ensuring an external pipes are well insulated minimises additional heat loss and can reduce the risk of freezing if a property is left unoccupied during a cold period.

Peter Bolton King, Chief Executive of the NAEA, said: "It is important that homeowners are aware of the options available to them when looking to make their homes warmer this winter.

"With bills on the rise, these measures can make a real difference, as well as having the welcome side-effect of increasing the carbon efficiency of their property."

"Many of these measures can be applied on different scales, and for this reason whilst doing DIY is very admirable, we urge any homeowner to seek the advice of professionals when looking to install energy and heat saving measures in the home."

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