KEEP the heat in and the cold out this winter with a few simple measures that won't break the bank.

1. A quarter of the heat in an uninsulated house is lost through the roof, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

Insulating the loft is a great way to retain heat and save money.

Even if your loft has insulation, it may not be thick enough. The recommended depth for mineral wool is 27cms, but other types of insulation maybe different.

You should lay the insulation between the joists and then across them at a 90-degree angle to create two layers, although rigid insulation boards are useful if you want to board over the loft for storage.

2. Open chimney breasts can be very draughty, so if you have an unused fireplace, get the chimney capped on the roof and fit a chimney balloon from below. This inflates inside the chimneytokeep warm air in the room and block cold air coming downthe chimney, though, of course, the fireplace can’t then be used.

3. Letting in sunlight during the day makes rooms warmer, especially if they’re south-facing.

The best way to retain that heat is to close the curtains or blinds when it starts to get dark.

If you’re at work at that time, clever technology can do it for you.

For example, the Ultra range of powered blinds fromAppealHome Shading ( can be programmed to close by time, temperature or light.

If youwant the blinds to close at dusk or when the temperature falls below a certain level, you can set them to, so the room stays warmer than it otherwise would.

4. If youprefer curtains,makesure they’re thermal ones or have a thick lining. This is one of the best ways to minimise heat loss through windows and patio doors.

Forextra insulation at thistimeof year, fit a curtain pole above your home’s front and back doors and hang a thick curtain across them, especiallyif the doorsare partially or fully-glazed.

5. To keep your boiler working efficiently, make sure it’s serviced annually.

Research by boilermanufacturer Worcester, Bosch Group found that fewer than half the homeowners questioned remembered to do this, while one in five had never had their boiler serviced.

Worcester’sMartyn Bridges said: “Even new boilers need to be checked each year. This is even more important the older the boiler gets. A boiler is one of the most relied-on appliances in the home,but is largelyforgotten until it actually stops working.”

A boiler service, which should include checking the effectiveness of the flue and that the boiler is safe, must be carried out by a Gas Safe Register engineer (, – or OFTEC registered ( /consumers/consumers) for oilfired boilers.