Amazingly, 1,500 customers have benefited from borrowing one of our FLIR thermal cameras this winter - in a Covid-safe way, of course! Unfortunately, we've stopped taking requests for cameras this winter to ensure we get through everyone on the list before the weather warms up (as soon as the temperature hits 10+ degrees, it's too warm for the cameras to work effectively). If you've missed out this time, don't worry, we'll be back next winter (October 2021) with this super cool free tech!
In the meantime - you can feel for draughts around your windows and doors using the back of your hand. Skip to our budget-friendly tips to find out how you can reduce draughts and improve insulation in 9 different areas of your home!
Heat has a habit of escaping through draughty nooks and crannies around the house. If there's lots of heat getting out, you might have to turn up the heating or leave it on longer to properly warm your home.
We genuinely want to help our customers be more energy efficient. It's simply the right thing to do, not only because it keeps your bills low, but because it’s better for the environment as well. We believe there are more, well, efficient ways for us to help you be energy efficient than just telling you to boil the right amount of water when making a cuppa. Why not...
Borrow a FLIR thermal imaging camera from us for free to find out where heat escapes around your home
How do they work?!
The cameras, provided by FLIR systems, are super easy to use. You simply plug them into a mobile phone, which then hooks the camera up to an app that reveals the exact spots in your home where you’re losing heat.
- From inside your home, darker, cooler spots show where cool air is coming in.
- From outside your home, reds, whites, and warmer colours show where heat is leaking out.
You might end up blocking particularly draughty windows, or sealing especially airy doorways.
To keep this scheme Covid-safe, when we package our camera's we're making sure that we:
- Clean all hard surfaces with a 70% alcohol disinfectant wipe
- Carefully package cameras and clearly label the packages
- Leave them to sit for 2 days before posting (the period of time the virus can survive on surfaces)
What exactly is the deal?
- We lend a camera to you for seven days, for free.
- We'll post it to you for free.
- We'll send you a SAE to return it so we can send it to the next person.
You will need a smartphone that is either IOS or an Android with a USB-C port.
Last year, we lent our cameras out hundreds of times and every single one came back!
Terms and conditions
We want as many of our customers to get a go with a thermal camera before winter's over. We only have 200 cameras, as they're quite special (and pricey) bits of tech – so we're relying on you to get your camera back to us as quickly as you can after you've had your turn.
Here's what you're agreeing to when you borrow a FLIR camera from us...
- You get it for seven days, for free.
- If we haven't received the camera back after 10 days, we'll charge you £1 per day for each day it's still not with us.
- While you're borrowing the camera, you're responsible for what happens to it and for returning it to us safely. If we don't get the camera back after six weeks, we'll have to ask you to pay for a replacement (a cost of £250).
- You'll bear with us - helping customers heat their homes more effectively is something we're really passionate about, we're the only energy supplier to do anything like this! We have hundreds of cameras on rotation and thousands of customers have already benefitted, but we can't promise exactly when your camera will come - on average, customers are waiting 8 weeks.
How do I set mine up?
- Install the FLIR app on your phone via the App Store or Play Store.
- Point your phone’s camera at the QR code that came with the thermal camera (or visit octo.ps/flir-1).
- Hold down the button on the bottom of your thermal camera for two seconds to turn it on.
- Open the FLIR app, turn your phone upside down, and plug in the camera.
That’s it – you’re good to go!
We'd love to know how you get on. Share any discoveries on Twitter or Instagram @octopus_energy.
How do I return my camera?
- Pop the camera back in the box it came in and seal it using the adhesive strip
- Stick the prepaid returns label on top of your name and address
- Take the parcel to the nearest Post Office branch (or any one of the 1,200 customer service points across the UK - you can find your nearest branch here)
- Keep hold of the receipt and tracking information for your records
Here are some budget-friendly tips (some totally free!) on how you can reduce heat loss in 9 different areas of your home:
What do the colours mean?
- Orange/yellow/white colours mean the area is warm - the brighter the colours are, the hotter the area is.
- Dark blue/purple colours mean the area is cold - the darker the blue, the colder the area is.
Whilst using your camera outside your home...
- You want to see the cold blue colours. This would mean your heating is being kept inside your house and you're not wasting your energy use on heating the sky.
- If you see bright yellow/white colours on your walls, roof or windows, focus on these areas when looking to improve insulation.
Whilst using your camera inside your home...
- You want to see the warm yellow colours. This would mean cold air isn't coming in and your heating isn't escaping out.
- If you see dark blue colours, focus on these areas when looking for draughts to plug and areas to better insulate.
- To block draughts at the base of your door, you can buy a cushion draught excluder (~£7) or make one by stuffing tights with socks, rice, plastic bags or any spare material you have. If you're feeling a bit more creative, you can sew material into shape and fill with whatever you have available (here's a tutorial on making your own draught excluder with stuff from around the house). The photos below show a draughty door - we know this because of the dark blue areas around the door. The photo on the right is lighter in colour at the base of the door where a draught excluder (a rolled up old towel) has been placed. The lighter colours show that the area is now warmer and the draught is being blocked. Easy remedy!
Draughty door without a draught excluder vs with a draught excluder
- If you'd prefer a fixed draught excluder, you can install a brush strip or hinged-flap draught excluder (~£7). Here's a tutorial on how to install a brush strip draught excluder.
- For draughts around the edges of doors, use self-adhesive draught-proofing strips. Foam strips are the cheapest option (~£5) but may not be long-lasting. Other options include plastic or metal draught-proofing strips. Here's a step by step guide on how to install self-adhesive draught-proofing strips.
- Letter boxes and keyholes can also be draught-proofed using a metal keyhole cover (~£3) and a letterbox brush/flap (~£5).
- Closing curtains in front of external doors helps to block the cold out and trap the heat in. The photo below on the left has lots of dark blue areas. This shows that cold draughts are coming in through gaps around the door frame and the window is poorly insulated (single glazed). The photo on the right, with the curtains closed, is much lighter in colour. This shows that the area is now warmer as the curtain is blocking the draughts out and trapping the heat in.
Draughty front door with curtains left open vs curtains closed
- As heat naturally flows from warmer to cooler spaces until there’s no temperature difference, keeping the doors of unused and unheated rooms closed, saves wasting your valuable heating.
- A cushion draught excluder can also be used at the base of the door.
Unheated room with the door left open vs door closed
- Leaving an extractor fan on can chill your whole house, so remember to turn it off when you've finished using it.
- You can get a timed extractor fan to help ensure it's not left on unnecessarily.
Extractor fan left on vs extractor fan turned off
- If your chimney is still used, you can buy or make your own removable fireplace guard to help reduce the draught. You just need some spare plywood or thick cardboard cut to size and insulation tape/kitchen foil. Whilst the fire is off, fit it into place in your fireplace. Here's an example of how to make a removable fireplace guard.
- A removable chimney balloon (£16) or a chimney draught excluder (~£22) can be placed up the chimney to prevent heat loss whilst the fire is off. If you use one of these, don't forget to remove it before lighting the fire!
- If your chimney is no longer used, consider having it capped by a professional (~£150).
Floorboards and skirting boards
- Place a rug (or leftover cuts of carpet) over exposed floorboards to reduce draughts through the gaps.
- Filler can be used to seal gaps in your floor/around your skirting boards - it is best to use filler that can tolerate movement as the boards can contract and expand.
- Radiators need space to heat your rooms - move any objects obstructing your radiators such as sofas, and ensure curtains don't hang in front of them.
- Dust that builds up between the fins of radiators makes them less efficient - try to remove dust build-up using a vacuum and radiator duster (~£5). If you have radiator covers, here's a step by step guide on how to remove them so you can access the radiator fins.
- Trapped air in radiators also reduces their efficiency - if there are cold spots on your radiators, it's a sign they need bleeding to release trapped air. Here's a tutorial on how to bleed your radiators.
- A shelf positioned just above a radiator helps to push heat forward into the room, rather than letting it rise to the ceiling. You can find easy to install, clip-on shelves in most hardware/DIY shops.
- Insert radiator reflector panels behind radiators (most effective on radiators located on external walls) to reflect heat back into the room, instead of letting the heat escape out through an external wall.
Hot water tanks and pipes
- A hot water cylinder jacket (~£15) can be fitted onto your hot water tank to reduce heat loss and therefore keep your hot water hotter for longer.
- Exposed hot water pipes can also be insulated using a foam tube that covers the pipes between your hot water cylinder and boiler.
If cold draughts are ignored, your heating has to work harder to keep you warm, increasing your energy bills and your carbon footprint... and no one wants that. So plug those draughts and stay warm this winter!
Good to know, the government currently has a ‘Green Homes Grant’ available to help reduce household energy use. The grant can help fund installing double/triple glazed windows, cavity wall insulation, roof insulation and more.
We'd love to see any nifty tips you come up with to stop those pesky draughts! Please share your photos with us on Twitter or Instagram @octopus_energy.
Check out what our customers are doing to improve their home insulation!
Grahame's had cavity wall insulation, capturing great before and after photos. The photo below on the left shows Grahame's house without cavity wall insulation. The bright colours indicate that a lot of his heating is leaking out through the poorly insulated walls. The photo below on the right shows Grahame's house with cavity wall insulation. The walls are much darker in colour, showing that the external walls are now colder and significantly less heat is escaping out into the atmosphere. Cavity wall insulation can save you up to £160 a year on heating bills!
Mick has done some targeted home insulation after locating a particularly cold external wall.
This wall is made up of tiles on the outside and plaster board on the inside. As you can see from the FLIR photo, the blue colours show that the wall is cold and therefore losing heat due to poor insulation. Mick has since had trained builders round to remedy this issue, filling the gaps with insulation. Mick will keep us posted next winter so we can see the affect this insulation has had using our FLIR camera.
Shanaka has made some budget-friendly insulation improvements around his home. Check out his 5 simple tips below!
Stay warm, conserve energy, save money and reduce your environmental impact this winter!
We tried this out last year, sending hundreds of these cameras to homes with unexpectedly high energy bills (based on factors like consumption data and home efficiency stats), and the campaign was a resounding success!
After offering truly useful, tailored advice based on their own homes, we found that people were eager to use that information to stay warm for less. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this proved much more effective than more generic messages about energy efficiency you see every winter.
In many ways, these nifty little thermal cameras encapsulate everything we're about. As your tech-led energy company of the future, we are committed to using cutting-edge technologies to lower both your carbon emissions, and your bills. As our CEO, Greg Jackson points out, these cameras also reflect the way we stand up for our customers too. When you compare us to other outdated ‘legacy’ suppliers, the difference is stark: 'While other energy providers might pray for a cold winter, we are committed to keeping customer costs down.”
If you do want to know about other ways you can improve your home's energy efficiency, take a look our best energy saving tips.