Winter and the cold have arrived and to survive the low temperatures we have to adapt our house. Knowing which are the best floors, windows or blinds will help you prepare your home for these dates, and what is more important, save energy. Preparing your home for winter will probably help you reduce your heating bill.
- Check the insulation of your house
The gaps in the walls in our homes allow a lot of the energy we pay for in our electricity bill to escape. That is why we recommend checking if we have leaks through the windows of our home, and if our house has correct insulation.
Windows with thermal break, or windows without break but with a sufficient level of tightness, or double windows, are essential elements to combat low temperatures while minimizing energy consumption. Furthermore, the use of glasses with low thermal transmission is interesting.
A low solar factor (ratio between the energy that enters a room through the glass and the solar energy that hits the outer surface of said glass perpendicularly) makes it easier for windows with south, southeast and southwest orientations to allow solar radiation to enter. in our rooms, reducing energy consumption.
Another example is double glazing, which not only minimizes outside noise but also retains heat inside the rooms and prevents cold from entering the interior. Windows are the elements of the home that cause the most energy losses; in fact, one m 2 of space can lose five times more energy than the same enclosure surface.
In addition, the insulation of the doors must be monitored, since they act as insulators between different rooms of the home and towards the outside. And the level of insulation of the blind parts or enclosures must be in accordance with that of the openings; It is not good to have very isolated openings while the facades lack the same.
- The best floors against the cold
Taking advantage of the fact that it is winter, we want to explain the best choice for floors that are resistant to humidity and cold, both indoors and outdoors.
For sensitive areas and where meteorological and atmospheric conditions affect the soil (areas exposed to rain or high temperatures), one of the most recommended options is to install outdoor decking. Wood is the warm material par excellence, and therefore, pleasant to use during the winter.
The market offers traditional options and new products. Current technology allows materials to be manufactured almost on demand. An example of many could be the technological alveolar flooring, an outdoor proposal with an advanced design and excellent properties of durability and resistance to adversity in the weather and to prolonged exposure to cold or heat or conditions of extreme humidity.
As for interiors, wooden floors, in addition to providing a natural and comfortable feel, are very warm in winter.
For both exteriors and interiors, the wood must be properly treated, also recommending that it comes from an appropriate environmental forest management at its origin.
- Maintain the temperature of the floors, facades and roof
Floors, facades and roofs are a source of energy loss, both floors that are in contact with the ground, with the exterior or with unheated premises, such as garages, warehouses or attics. If your home is in one of these cases, monitor their insulation. The market offers systems of all types, such as the so-called dry floor varieties that incorporate thermal insulation in their plates, considerably reduce energy losses and their drying time during installation is minimal.
Likewise, on facades and roofs, adequate insulation placed on the outside or inside, depending on the technical possibilities and the climatic zone in which the building is located, since it can condition said option based on the heat needs. and refrigeration, are ways to prevent the cold from entering the home. It is important not to forget the possible need to incorporate vapor barriers to prevent interstitial condensation from deteriorating the characteristics of the aforementioned insulation.
- Efficient air conditioning systems
Correct maintenance is essential to obtain the highest possible performance from our equipment, which will result in energy savings. If our equipment is already reaching its useful life and we are considering replacing it, in the market we will find technologies that are increasingly more efficient and therefore less polluting for the environment: condensation systems, heat pumps, low NOX equipment, biomass, etc.
If you are also thinking about making a larger investment than just replacing the generating equipment, underfloor heating may be an option to consider.
On numerous occasions, we have heard the following: “in winter, warm feet and a cold head.” That is why underfloor heating, as a sign of comfort, means that the air temperature at foot height is slightly higher than the air temperature at head height. The explanation of how it works is very simple. It consists of a network of tubes, generally made of cross-linked polyethylene, that are installed under the pavement and a layer of protection and transmission mortar, through which hot water circulates at a temperature of about 40-45 °C, with the consequent construction details. necessary for proper functioning.
- Take advantage of your terrace also in winter
A terrace is a highly coveted element of the home, so it is important to take advantage of it all year round. Terraces are no longer just for summer.
In the winter season, the possibility of closing it with practicable elements allows for continuous use of a large and beneficial space in most cases, which can also be relatively easy to cool thermally.
The closure of these elements benefits the adjacent spaces that will no longer be in contact with the outside in the coldest months, with the consequent reduction of interior heat losses that will make it easier to achieve the required level of comfort with lower energy consumption.
We must not forget the need for authorization from both the rest of the owners if we live in a community of neighbors since the façade is a common element, and from the municipal administration.
- Solar panels to produce thermal energy at home
In Spain we are lucky to have sunny days with many hours of light and little rainfall even during the winter months. Thus, in many cities around 4,000 hours of light are produced per year, a resource that we can use to produce heat.
By installing solar panels that contribute to the production of domestic hot water with renewable energy, you can save on energy consumption by not having to use other non-renewable energy sources. In principle, any sanitary water installation is susceptible to this change, it is enough to install a series of solar collectors and energy transport systems, and think about the space where you want to put it and the time that the sun hits it daily, without forgetting the legalization of this new facility.
- Adjust the schedule of use with the regulation of the equipment
It is of little use to demand maximum performance from the equipment at times when we are ventilating our home, or are sleeping, or are simply away from it.
Reconciling our stay there and the activity we carry out, with the greater demands of the air conditioning equipment will result in greater efficiency and the corresponding savings.
A programmable thermostat will regulate the temperature, preventing it from exceeding the limits that we set according to the schedule and use mentioned above.
- Controlled and adequate ventilation
Excessive ventilation negatively affects energy consumption. Even the time to do it since, if possible, the opening necessary to achieve health related to renewing the air in the home is best done during the central hours of the day, which is when the outside temperature is usually higher, fogs and rains apart.
Infiltration is uncontrolled flows of outside air that penetrate through cracks, especially on facades oriented in the direction of the dominant wind. Apart from those corresponding to other points discussed above, the clearance between the blind and the lower part of the blind box or the loading of the opening, can be conflicting points that a hood that is not suitably insulated and independent of the air chamber of the housing can harm everything previously achieved.
- In places where there is no heating, put insulation on the pipes
The pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to intense cold, such as those in swimming pools, patios, gardens, or basements. But also in some areas exposed interior pipes can freeze. Therefore, before it happens, we have to do something on our part to prevent it from happening. For example, you can protect pipes with insulation of appropriate thickness for each situation. This way, we will prevent them from freezing and bursting.
- Audit your building and take advantage of the Aid Programs
To gauge the state of our building there is nothing like an audit, and specifically the Building Evaluation Report (IEE). It is a report completed using a computer tool that legally has three parts: technical inspection, accessibility and energy efficiency certificate with the corresponding proposals for improvement measures, and may optionally incorporate for now the evaluation of acoustic performance.
Any Subsidy and Aid Program for Efficient Rehabilitation that we want to join to improve our building in any Administration will have as a first requirement that the IEE be incorporated to evaluate the state of the building.