How to Heat a Cold Kitchen

How to heat a cold kitchen

In this article we share our best tips on how to heat a cold kitchen, with ideas and help for every budget.

We also go through the most common reasons why your kitchen is cold in the first place.

With peoples energy costs skyrocketing, and many struggling with the “heat or eat” dilemma, this is valuable information.

NB: Since I wrote this post and took the photos the washing machine pictured has stopped working and couldn’t be fixed, Damn it! Anyway I bought a new one which was cheaper than the repairs would have been. You can read about it here: Hisense washing machine review.

Table of Contents

How best to heat a cold kitchen

OK so here you have several options and some of them will be more expensive than others.

Assuming you don’t have these things, you could…

Add cavity wall insulation
Add double glazed windows and doors
Add a wall radiator if there is space
Use a plinth heater (This is what I opted for)
Add underfloor heating

Why is your kitchen always cold?

There can’t be many things less pleasant than coming down in the morning to put the kettle on when your kitchen is freezing cold.

But why is it cold?

There are two basic reasons for a cold kitchen, either poor insulation/draft proofing to protect it from the outside elements or just a lack of non-cooking heat sources.

So only two real problems but there are many potential reasons for the insulation and draft issues.

Without visiting your house, it would be impossible for me to answer your specific question, so let me give some common situations and you may well find that one or more of them will ring a bell with you.

Later in the article we will cover how to deal with many of these problems.

Kitchen draft and insulation issues

A lot of old-style houses, maybe Victorian and Edwardian ones will not have cavity wall insulation and even a lot of post war Semis will not either.

If your kitchen is basically an extension added twenty years ago or more then if it is single brick then it will be an absolute nightmare regarding heat loss.

After build issues the next most obvious thing to consider is basic drafts through poor quality or poorly fitted doors and windows.

If your double glazing is a few years old (and even if it’s not) make sure the rubber seal around the doors and windows isn’t damaged or has bits missing.

See the photo here of a back door that my other half was working on recently. The rubber has perished over the years and you can see gaps where the drafts were coming in. (Well if you can ignore the state of the mess and just concentrate on the door sill)

The customer said that when it rains it actually leaks inside and you can hear the wind whistling through it during the winter months. It needed replacing but the landlord wouldn’t pay the cost of it!

Short term solution

Not ideal but a good thick curtain over the rear door will at least help with the wind. If you have drafty windows then you can try curtains or having shutters fitted to the windows will certainly help.

Replace rubber seal around the UPVC door

Far cheaper than replacing the whole door is just replace the rubber seal. This might sound difficult but actually isn’t as tough as you might think. Anyone with a modicum of DIY skills should be able to do it and here we will explain the basics.

You can buy 25 meres of universal rubber seal for roughly £20 -£25 and that will do all the doors in your house! If it’s just for one door it will be way too much but for that price it will save you more than that on heating bills so it is worth it.

Stormguard door seal

My other half uses Stormguard black rubber door seal most of the time. It is good quality and last a long time.

Just check the size of the gap you need. The one used here is for grooves between 3.2 to 4mm wide. The great thing about this type of seal is their is no glue required, so you can’t get in a mess with it.

stormguard door seal
You can see the new one (in the plastic) & bits of the old one after it is taken out.

Replacing kitchen door seal

Step one is to remove the old rubber seal. This can often prove to be the most difficult part of the process. Luckily on the example we show here it came out almost in one piece. Sometimes though you spend 30 minutes trying to prize the old one out as it continually breaks/snaps off because it becomes brittle with age.

Once its all out clean round the door frame and start to feed the new one in.

Start top right and work your way down.

Why is the Stormguard seal the best?

The Stormguard UPVC seal is long lasting, it will stop draughts, leaks and will help with outside noise reduction. The noise reduction is usually quite a surprise to people. If you push the door to and listen and then lift the handle as you would to lock it. That pushes the door that extra little bit and you can feel and hear the difference.

It literally seals it air tight. This will reduce noise from outside and of course keep your heat in and the cold air out!

No Door

Other reasons the kitchen gets cold is no internal door. A high percentage of homes don’t have a door between the kitchen and the hall, and this can cause drafts.

No heat source other than cooking

Due to wall space being at a premium in smaller kitchens they often have no radiators at all, and if your house is any real age, it is unlikely to have underfloor heating. This is what causes most of the issues with a kitchen temperature.

Limited kitchen wall space

Why is my kitchen floor so cold?

Flooring makes a big difference of course. When it comes to kitchens, we want something practical that can be mopped such as tiles, flags, laminate etc. However, when in bare feet these are usually cold to the touch.

Most people have carpeting in bedrooms and living rooms or at least a rug or mat, so after walking on that and going into the kitchen psychologically it will feel cold even if it isn’t really that bad.

You can buy good kitchen mats at a reasonable cost that not only mean you don’t have to stand directly on the cold floor but offer support if you do stand for long periods in the kitchen while cooking or baking.

How can I make my kitchen warmer?

Underfloor heating, plinth heaters, cavity wall insulation and kitchen radiators are just some options open to you.

In this section of the article, we cover a wide variety of ways you can heat your kitchen.

Underfloor heating in kitchen

This can be reasonably cost effective when building a new house and would certainly be the best option. If you are adding an extension to your property (to be the kitchen) then it may be possible to have underfloor heating to the kitchen without too many issues.

However, to add it to an existing kitchen can be problematic and very costly so I wouldn’t recommend this option.

Electric underfloor is very expensive to run and with the cost of energy prices currently higher than they have ever been it really isn’t viable for most people.

Electric plinth heater with remote control

This is the option I went for as based on price and how relatively easy they are to fit made it the best choice for me.

If you are reading this, it is almost certain you will not have a plinth heater, because you probably wouldn’t have a cold kitchen if you did.

Do not worry if you have no idea what a plinth heater is, we cover that next.

What is a plinth heater?

A plinth heater is a space saving heater which is usually used to either save the space that a traditional wall heater takes up or very often used in a kitchen which doesn’t have any free wall space for a traditional radiator.

Due to their small size and the fact that they do fit under the kitchen units they are less obtrusive than a normal radiator and so help to give your kitchen a smooth sleek look.

There are two types of plinth heater, a “hydronic” one, (hydro means water) which is connected up to your normal gas central heating system like an extra radiator.

This type would normally be fitted by a plumber though if you are handy when it comes to DIY then you could do it yourself.

The second option is the easier one to fit and is an “electric plinth heater”.

As a plinth heater is typically fitted under units, at ground level, the heat starts off at floor level and gently rises. Nice to warm your toes first thing in the morning!

Their simplicity, the fact that compared to other options they are inexpensive to buy and fit and their space saving advantages make a plinth heater a great choice.

Which is the best plinth heater?

If fitting it isn’t an issue, I’d go for the hydro option as long term they will be cheaper to run.

Though it is easier to fit an electric one.

Kitchen Cavity Wall Insulation

If your house has cavity walls, then getting them insulated properly will really improve the energy efficiency of your home.

It does need to be done by an expert and the price isn’t cheap, but some councils offer grants to help with the cost.

One thing is certain it will help retain heat in your home thereby reducing heating bills by several hundred pounds a year once the work is carried out.

Double glazing for your kitchen

It goes without saying that replacing old single glazed doors and windows with modern double-glazed replacements will have a big heat saving effect.

Often old frames are like a collider letting out heat at a huge rate.

Wall radiator(s)

Wall space is often at a premium in kitchens so having free wall space to retro-fit a radiator is sometimes not an option.

When you do have space, how easy would it be to have an additional radiator connected up to your central heating system?

Read the latest posts here: