We’re in the depths of winter – a bleak time of year when you feel like hibernating and the time of year when your energy costs are at their highest. To ensure that your savings don’t go down as you turn the heat up, follow these tips:
Turn the thermostat down: According to the Energy Saving Trust, every degree you turn your thermostat down by can save you as much as £65 in your annual energy costs. One of the best low-energy ways to feel warmer is to get changed into a cosy evening outfit as soon as you get home. But, what to wear?
Think cosy: Warm, practical and on-trend – slankets, onesies and slipper boots are an ideal and relatively inexpensive addition to any winter wardrobe. More traditional? Go for woolly jumpers, thick socks and lots of layers. Embrace the Danish art of “hygge”: a phenomenon first documented in the 18th Century! Pronounced “heurgha” (admit it, you’ve been pronouncing it incorrectly), it involves taking pleasure from the presence of gentle, soothing things – ideal for a cold, winter’s night.
Top tip: Leave your evening outfit in an airing cupboard or sat near (but not touching) one of the radiators that will be on by the time you get home.
Keep the heat in: Inspect window and door seams. While it may seem airtight, there could actually be a draft seeping around the frame. By sealing up these leaks, you could save £25 to £50 per year in energy costs. Soak up the sun: If any windows face the setting sun, leave their curtains open until you get home. Closing them when you get in will trap any residual warmth inside.
Help the humidity: Drying laundry indoors while you’re out and about could add some much-needed humidity to the atmosphere by the time you get back.
Dodge draughts: Warm air will rush out the moment you open the front door. Think about hanging a thick door curtain to minimise the heat loss as you come in.
Top tip: Thick rugs don’t just feel great under your feet – they are a top way to stop draughty floorboards from letting the outside in.
Perform maintenance on your boiler: Like any other piece of machinery, your boiler can benefit from annual maintenance to clear out build-up, lubricate fans, change filters and tighten fan belts. On average, this could save you at least 10 per cent on your energy costs.
Limit hot water use: Limit your showers to about 10 minutes to avoid overusing hot water. Also consider purchasing a hot water cylinder jacket and installing primary pipe work insulation, which together could save you up to £45 per year, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
Move your furniture: Avoid putting large pieces of furniture such as sofas near radiators, as the furniture ends up absorbing a lot of the heat. Go zonal: Keep doors closed and adjust your radiators to switch on around 15 or 20 minutes before you want to use a room. After all, there’s no point heating rooms you aren’t going to be using anytime soon.
Master your thermostat: Every thermostat is different. Get to know what yours can do to enhance your evening routine by checking out the manual (instructions for many models can be found online).
Use energy-saving light bulbs: Energy-saving light bulbs can last up to 10 times longer and can save you about £50 over the course of the bulb’s lifetime.
Time it right: If you always arrive home after dark, an easy-to-install DIY timer is an ideal way to programme your lights to come on just in time to greet you.
Switch to smart: Train delayed? Home earlier than usual? Innovative smart lighting allows you to save on energy costs by turning lights on or off with a tap of your smartphone.
Motion lights: Don’t fall foul of a dark and frosty front path. Installing motion detector lights will make sure you’ve got a clear route to the front door.
Top tip: For that classic warm and slightly amber light choose bulbs with a Kelvin rating of between 2700 and 3000 (you can normally find this figure on the box).
Add more insulation in your attic: Insulating or adding extra insulation to your loft, attic or flat roof helps reduce heat loss and can lower your heating bill. Loft insulation is generally effective for at least 40 years, so it is a wise investment.
Cook clever: Using a little more energy than a traditional light bulb, slow cookers are an ingenious way to have a hot meal good to go by the time you get home. Do your prep, set it cooking while you go out and when you return – voila.
Get a brew on: Did you know that some super smart coffee makers can even use your smartphone’s WiFi connection to tell when you walk through the door?
Be inventive: If you have an electric coffee pot with a timer, you may be able to use it to make all sorts of other warming treats by adding things like hot chocolate or porridge directly to the glass jug.
Top tip: If you use the oven to cook your evening meal, leave the oven door open when you’re done. Any leftover heat will continue to warm the house as the oven cools.
Everybody needs good neighbours: According to Age Concern, every winter, one elderly person dies needlessly every seven minutes from the cold. Keep an eye on your elderly neighbours, particularly if a cold snap hits. You could also offer them a drink or some hot food to make sure they are warm enough, particularly those with mobility problems. Ensure that their thermostat is set at a minimum of 18c in bedrooms and 21c in living spaces. Get involved with Age Concern’s Spread the Warmth Campaign.
Sources: https://blog.npower.com, The Telegraph, Energy Saving Trust, Age Concern