Winter is upon us, and in combination with the financial hangover the majority of us are nursing after the festive season – finances can be a sore spot. The credit card statements are coming in thick and fast, and in addition, we are now starting to get bills for the past few months of cold weather, which are enough to take our breath away like a cold frosty morning.
Essentially, winter can be a financially stressful time, and in part, this is due to the high cost of heating our home. Indeed, there are plenty of people (particularly old people, unfortunately) that feel the need to ration their heating in order to keep it affordable – but with a few simple tweaks, most people can reduce their bills whilst still keeping warm throughout the remainder of winter.
Perhaps you are lucky enough to have a wood burning fire, and like a squirrel, in the autumn months, you have been foraging for wood, drying it out over summer, and now using the fruits of your labor to keep your home snug this winter! The majority of us, however, instinctively reach for the dial that turns up the central heating… however, with ever increasing energy prices, the luxury of central heating can come at quite a high price.
This article offers ten suggestions to help you save money on heating your home this winter. that are practical and easy to implement, indeed, many of them are just common sense.
1. TURN DOWN THE THERMOSTAT
This might sound like an overly simple suggestion, but turn down the thermostat, as when you’re cold the instinct is to set the temperature way beyond what you actually need… and then, you get used to living at this higher temperature. Furthermore, are you setting the temperature so that you’re comfortable in the house wearing your pyjamas or so that you’re comfortable wearing wearing jeans and a jumper? You can probably knock the ambient temperature down a few degrees by simply putting on a jumper.
2. MAKE USE OF A TIMER
The majority of modern thermostats come with the ability to programme a timer – meaning the heating will kick in just before you get home, and will turn down, once you are wrapped up snug in bed for the night. There’s no point keeping your house warm all day long, if you’re not going to be there to enjoy the comfort.
3. LIMIT THE NUMBER OF ROOMS YOU HEAT
In reality, you probably don’t “live” in every room of our house. If there are a couple of rooms that you don’t use often, consider turning the radiators off in those rooms, as heating this unused space is costing you a significant amount money. With regard to this, you could look into HVAC Zoning that uses several thermostats placed throughout your house to control the temperature of individual zones – reducing the amount of wasted energy used heating rooms that aren’t being used.
4. TAKE A HOT WATER BOTTLE TO BED
It may seem somewhat Victorian to consider heating the bed with such a low-tech device, but there is something about that smell of warm rubber that brings a childlike comfort to bedtime. Moreover, it’s a very cheap and efficient way to heat up your bed on a cold evening.
5. ELECTRIC BLANKET
The downside of a hot water bottle is that it inevitably loses heat throughout the night, whereas an electric blanket, radiates a constant supply of heat to keep you toasty throughout the night – sometimes a little too toasty. An electric blanket consumes a reasonably low amount of energy and, as it’s such a close source of heat, you don’t require much heat to be emitted in order to keep you warm at night.
Insulate everywhere. Double the insulation you think you need and watch your energy bill reduce. Heat rises, therefore heat tends to escape mostly through the roof. Quite simply, The more insulated your roof is, the more your home will retain its heat, which means the less you will require heat to be generated.
7. ELIMINATE DRAFTS
Windows can account for nearly a quarter of heat loss. The first step is to find the drafts and then take measures to prevent the heat escaping. The most standard way is to install double (or triple) glazing, but if this is out of your price range, you could use transparent plastic film (which you can find for less than $10) could take up to 14% off your heating bill.
8. DON’T FORGET TO TURN OFF THE HEATING
If you don’t use a timed thermostat, then it’s vital that you remember to turn off the heating as you leave. There are plenty of people that leave their heating on whilst away at work, or even away for an entire weekend – kicking themselves as they walk into a home that feels like a sauna; considering all the money (and energy) that has been wasted as a result of forgetting to switch off the heating.
9. WEAR MORE CLOTHES
Again, this sounds incredibly simple, but so many of us will have the heating on to a temperature that means we are comfortable to walk around practically naked – when, in reality, if we were to keep on an extra layer, such as a sweater, we could afford to turn the boiler down a few degrees.
10. TURN DOWN THE WATER TEMPERATURE
The majority of modern boilers allow you to set the temperature of the water that comes out your shower. Nobody tends to enjoy a freezing cold, or even a luke warm shower, but turning the temperature down just a degree or two can make a huge difference in your energy bill when compounded over time. A lot of people feel the need to have such hot water blasting out their taps that it practically scalds them and they need to mix in cold water in order to be comfortable. This is a huge waste of energy, as quite simply, the water doesn’t need to be heated to the point you are heating it.