Many of us are looking for ways to cut back on our energy use with energy prices at their current high levels. Here are some tips – ones that actually work – to help you save energy and stay warm this winter:
Central heating is all about time and space
The best way to save money is to only heat the spaces you need, only while you’re using them. Here’s how to figure it out:
1. Close all the doors in your home and think about all the individual spaces – rooms, hallways, stairwells – that creates.
2. If you’ve got thermostatic valves on your radiators, set each one to the temperature you need for each space. Your living room will probably be the room you want to be warmest, while bedrooms and the kitchen can be cooler. If you don’t have thermostatic valves, you can turn off the radiators in any rooms you use infrequently, or areas that will warm up enough with air coming from the rest of your home.
3. Once you’ve got this organised, get into the habit of keeping your internal doors closed, so each room maintains its own temperature.
4. Now plan out what times of the day you need the heating on. Rooms will stay warm after the heating goes off, so set it to switch off an hour before you leave for work and go to bed. This will save you two hours of heating straight away.
Optimise your heating basics
If you’ve got central heating, here’s how to get it running as efficiently as possible:
1. Make sure your boiler is serviced regularly, so it’s as efficient at heating the water as it can be. The first thing to look at is your thermostat.
2. Check your radiators for cool areas at the top. If they’re not uniformly warm, there’s trapped air which is stopping them working at their best – follow this guide to bleed out the air.
3. Place foil behind radiators on external walls to reflect heat back into the room. A shelf above a radiator can help guide the warm air into the middle of the room.
Stop the heat escaping
Once you’ve got your heating sorted, you want to keep the warm air in your home as much as possible. It’s important to insulate as much as you can:
1. Loft insulation will stop heat escaping through your roof.
2. Make sure your hot water tank has an insulating jacket - the water will stay hot for much longer.
3. Think about if cavity wall insulation is suitable for your property.
4. Old-fashioned draught excluders are perfect for doors.
Windows can be problematic if you don’t have double-glazing:
1. If your windows are single pane, temporary double glazing with plastic sheets is a lot less expensive than fitting new windows.
2. Cheap, self-adhesive draught-proofing can work well, particularly on sash windows.
3. Don’t forget to close your curtains just before it gets dark to keep the warmth in but open them during the day to let in the sunshine.
Cooking and cleaning
In the kitchen and elsewhere, you can save energy with some small changes that add up over the course of a year:
1. Don’t heat water on the stove. Boil it in a kettle, then add it to the pan – and use a lid to keep the heat in.
2. Don’t preheat the oven for longer than you need or open the door too soon - you’ll let out hot air and waste energy.
3. Batch cooking is a great way to save money on energy and ingredients because you only need to use the stove or oven once.
4. Use a microwave to heat up food instead of the cooker where you can.
5. Use the Eco mode on your washing machine and wait until you’ve got enough dirty clothes to do a full load.
Help with your bills
In these trying times, we’re here to help if you ever have trouble paying your energy bills. Just get in touch, and we’ll talk through your options – we’ll do everything we can to make it as easy as possible.
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