How to stay toasty at home this Winter, for less
Oh cruel January! After all the warmth and sparkle of Christmas, we return to reality with a bump. We head back to work. The dark winter continues. And we count the cost - on our waists and our wallets.
What better time then, to hunker down and ride out the coldest, darkest months of the year, staying warm and cosy at home? But what about that empty wallet - home heating is expensive right?
Well, it's true that heating and hot water accounts for more than 50% of household energy use. But don't shiver your way through winter; there are plenty of simple ways to keep toasty at the same time as saving money on your heating bills.
Get switched on here...
Give your radiators some space.
Your radiators are the superstars of your heating system. To get the best out of them and avoid any temperamental performance, you need to treat them right. First, they need their own space; so pull sofas and other furniture away from them to avoid them absorbing all the heat. And whatever you do, don't hide them under the curtains.
Let in the day, keep out the night.Keep curtains, blinds and shutters open during the day to let in the warming sunshine. Even winter sunlight can provide free heating for your home. Make sure you close them up again at night though, to keep that lovely heat right where you want it - inside with you! Take back control.
New build homes are fitted with room thermostats, timers, zoned heating and thermostatic radiator controls, making energy saving easy. But even if you live in an older property, installing these controls will help you save. They allow you to heat selected parts of your home to the desired temperature, rather than the whole house.
Give your radiators a rest.Treat your hard-working radiators to a break! Don't pay for energy you're not using - only heat your home when you need to. Set your timer to come on half an hour before you wake up in the morning or arrive home in the evening. That way your house will be toasty when you need it and you won't need to turn the heating to maximum to try and warm up. Get smart. Not sure when you'll be arriving home? Get a smart thermostat so you can switch your heating on exactly when you need it, wherever you are, from an app on your mobile phone. Don't 'lag' behind...
Recommended depths for loft insulation have increased over time, from 100mm several years ago to 270mm today. Check your loft to see if you could benefit from extra insulation. If you live in a new build home you'll have thick, fluffy loft insulation already - just make sure you don't flatten it with stored keepsakes and suitcases, as crushing it makes it much less efficient.
Give your radiators a health check.
Keep the stars of the show in tip-top condition. Check them for cold spots, particularly near the top which means there is air trapped in them. It's easy to release the air by 'bleeding' the radiator to make sure they give out as much heat as possible.
Keep out the breeze.Draughts are the enemy of the cosy home. They bring cold air inside and however how much you heat your home, they can make it feel chilly. New build homes are designed and built to high government standards to prevent draughts. But if you live in an older home, draught-proofing of windows, doors, letterboxes and floorboards are probably the most cost-effective energy saving measures you can take. Don't let January win! Make sure you're comfortable and snug in your home this winter by making some of the simple changes above. Great for you, better for your bank balance and healthier for the planet too.