You spent all summer trying to keep the cool air in, but now it’s time to keep it out.

With the arrival of colder weather the focus turns to staying warm at home without maxing out our energy bills.

When it comes to preparing your home for winter, some of the same steps apply as they did in summer, such as sealing gaps that let air in and closing off rooms not in use.

If your home is older and you haven’t checked the insulation for a while, it could be time to upgrade or replace it for added benefits.

If your windows are uncovered at night you can lose more than one-third of the heat you’re paying to generate. Heavy curtains with thermal linings will provide insulation year-round. But leave them open during the day to take advantage of any warmth generated by the sun hitting your windows.

Gaps around windows or doors can allow heat loss but are relatively easy to address. Gaps in floorboards can also allow heat to escape and can be filled with sealant or by consulting a flooring specialist.

Wooden, slate or tiled floors are great in summer, but during winter the addition of rugs will warm up the space and are also cosier to walk on.

In very cold climates, you don’t need to emulate medieval homes and castles by hanging tapestries on the walls to reduce heat loss. In rooms used most often, the simple addition of bookshelves on an outer-facing wall can provide extra insulation.

Consider setting the thermostat on your heater to no more than 20 degrees, which will keep the room comfortable. Every degree above that can add 10 per cent to your energy bill, so try putting on a jumper instead of cranking up the heat. As in summertime, cleaning the filters on heaters or air-conditioners will ensure they operate as effectively as possible.

Make use of timers to turn on heating before you get up and off again before you leave home. Many people use electric blankets to heat their beds, then turn them off before going to sleep.

Some ceiling fans have a switch that enable the movement of the blades to be reversed. This can force down any warm air that has moved up to the ceiling.

After giving your house the once-over, move your armchair closer to the fire to beat the winter chill.

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