With winter now upon us you will no doubt have started to rely on your central heating system to keep your house warm at most times of the day. During winter, energy usage is at its highest as not only do you need to keep your home warmer, you also need more artificial light as the days are shorter.
Many people, quite rightly, worry just how much keeping their homes warm, safe and dry is going to cost them and many people stress about paying energy bills when they drop through the letterbox. But keeping safe and warm is essential if other conditions such as ill health are not going to kick in and afflict you over this time.
So what can you do to mitigate the cost this winter? Well here are a few of our tips that could help you save some money and keep your home warmer for longer.
Attend to your thermostat
The optimum temperature for your home is around 18°C, maybe slightly higher if you suffer from poor health or poor circulation. However, research has shown that reducing the temperature on your thermostat by just 1°C can save up to 10% on your heating bills.
Also, look at your hot water tank as you could, without your knowledge, be heating this much higher than you need to. An optimum temperature for your hot water tank is around 60°C. Setting the temperature to this level can help you save money not just on your energy, but if you are on a meter then on your water bills as well as you will not need to add as much cold water to your mix to make the temperature bearable enough for when you have a bath or a shower.
Don’t leave your electrical appliances on standby mode
This applies to appliances such as your TV, DVD player, mobile phone chargers, set-top boxes or any other device that has a standby function. Instead make sure that they are switched off completely. By doing so you could save an estimated £30 a year on energy costs.
Switch to energy saving LED bulbs
These bulbs have two main advantages – the first is that they have much longer lives than standard bulbs with some having an advertised life of up to 50,000 hours usage – put that into context, in winter if you have your lounge light on from 5.00pm to bed at 11.00pm then a single bulb would be estimated to last around 22 years. They also use less energy than standard bulbs as well – so a double saving.
You should also get into the habit of turning off the lights when you leave a room as this wil also save you money over the long term.
Fix any drafts
Drafts have a sneaky habit of letting warm air out and cold air in. Whether these are in doors, windows or floors they should be looked at and plugged wherever possible. Check that your doors and windows have properly functioning draft excluders fitted.
Make use of nature
On winter days whilst it may be cold outside, the sun can often be shining. This can be a valuable and free source of heating for your home – when the sun is shining make sure all your curtains are open so that maximum sunlight can penetrate your home. However, as soon as it starts to get dark go round and close all your curtains, not just those in the rooms you are in as they will stop heat seeping away through cold windows.
Make sure your boiler has been serviced
An annual service will not cost that much, around £40, but it is well worth it to ensure that your boiler is operating as efficiently as it possibly can. This will help to improve performance and reduce energy usage both of which will help you save money.
Make sure you have adequate insulation
If your home is properly insulated then the energy savings that you can make can be quite substantial. For example, did you know that if your roof is not properly or is poorly insulated that you can lose some 25% of your homes heat this way. You can get grants to help you do this if you are worried about the cost, more information on grants can be found on the government website at www.gov.uk/improve-energy-efficiency.
You should also check that your hot water tank and pipes are properly insulated as this will keep your water hotter for longer and again save you money – it is estimated that the cost of a jacket to lag your water tank will be recouped in energy savings within twelve months.
Check your energy tariff, especially if you haven’t done this for a while. There may be better contracts out there for you that could save you a considerable amount of money and in this day and age switching energy supplier is relatively straightforward and easy!