Heating bills are set to skyrocket this winter, so check out our top ways to stay warm without spending a fortune.
September is now here, the days are already getting shorter and autumn is just around the corner. As the nights start to get darker and chillier, the fateful day draws ever closer when you simply can’t put it off any longer. Yes, it’s time to switch the heating on.
However long you wait, there’s no doubt that the cost of heating your home with winter will be higher than ever before. Gas and electricity bills are set to rise by an astonishing 65% and could break through £3200 for some households –- and while some financial help will be available, it may not be enough. So if you weren’t worried about your energy consumption before, you almost certainly will be now.
Fortunately, there are lots of ways to save energy and money around the home – some quick and easy, others more long-term. In this post we’ll take a look at a few of them.
Switch It Off
The most obvious way to save energy is simply switching things off. These days, practically every electronic device has a ‘standby mode’ that means it’s drawing power even when you’re not using it. This is known as ‘phantom load’, while the plugged-in culprits are known as ‘vampire devices’.
While the electricity drain of each device may be small, it still mounts up over time – and the more devices you have, the bigger it gets. Some of the most likely culprits are TV set-top boxes, immersion heaters and phone chargers.
So take a trip around your home, track down those energy-drainers and turn ’em off. You could even make a game of it – eco-conscious kids might enjoy playing ‘hunt the vampire device’!
Loft And Wall Insulation
This one is a bit more expensive, but it’s still a sound investment if you can afford it. In an uninsulated home, a quarter of the heat is lost through the roof – so it’s definitely worth considering insulating your loft, attic or flat roof.
If your loft is easily accessible and you don't have any problems with damp, you might even be able to install the insulation yourself, by buying rolls of mineral insulation and carefully laying it between the rafters.
While loft insulation might cost you a few hundred pounds, it can pay for itself multiple times over its 40-year lifespan. In fact, in many homes, energy savings will pay for the insulation within a year or two.
Another third of your heat is lost through walls, which you may be able to improve by installing cavity wall insulation. Most homes built after 1920 have cavity walls, where there’s a gap between the inner and outer layers of brick. If all the bricks in your walls are laid lengthways, with no shorter brick-ends showing, you probably have cavity walls.
You need a professional to carry out the installation, but it only takes a few hours and isn’t too disruptive. And while wall insulation does cost more than loft insulation, it should still pay for itself within a few years.
Fitting New Double-Glazed Windows
Windows are notorious heat dissipators too. Old and leaky windows can allow around 18% of your home’s heat to escape, and sometimes as much as 40%.
In contrast, SUDG (sealed unit double glazing) windows are far better at retaining heat. Installing them could save you up to £500 a year – or even more once energy tariffs rise.
Replacing windows might not cost as much as you think, particularly if you’re simply replacing like for like. Shop around for the best deal, and remember that you don’t necessarily have to replace all your windows at once.
Don’t forget doors either. Letterboxes and gaps around doors can allow up to 27% of the heat in your hall to leak out. Fit draught excluders or use foam strips to block out those icy draughts – bearing in mind that the biggest gap may be at the bottom.
Bleed Your Radiators
If your radiators feel cold at the top, even when the heating’s on, they may have air trapped in them and need bleeding.
Bleeding radiators may sound a bit alarming, but it’s simple enough. First, run the heating for a while to identify all the radiators that feel cold, then switch it off again so the system cools down.
Now, wearing protective gloves, use a radiator key to gently turn the valve at the top of the radiator anticlockwise just a little until you hear the hiss of escaping air. When the noise stops, or a little water leaks out, quickly turn the key clockwise again to close the valve, and the job’s done. (Use a cloth to protect your floors from water drips if necessary.)
Depending on how many radiators need bleeding, you may need to repressurise your system afterwards. Check your boiler manual or, if you’re unsure, ask a qualified engineer to help.
A Cheaper Way To Stay Warm
Obviously, some of these options are fairly expensive, and may be impossible to afford when your heating bills are on the rise.
Fortunately, there’s another option that ticks all the boxes: it’s quick, cheap, easy and good for the environment too. We’re talking about heating yourself instead of your home!
By wearing thermal clothing like Heat Holders socks, slipper-socks, neck warmers and snugovers, or snuggling up under a Heat Holders blanket, you can keep yourself feeling toasty throughout the day and night.
You can even wear our hats, scarves and gloves if you want to – who says they’re only for outdoors? Or go for fingerless gloves and get the full ‘Ebenezer Scrooge’ vibe over the festive season!
If you’ve never tried Heat Holders, you might doubt whether they can really make such a difference. We promise they can!
Farmers, walkers and horse riders trust our socks to keep their feet warm when spending long hours outdoors in the depths of winter. So if Heat Holders can vanquish the good old British weather, they’ll definitely keep you warm around the house.
Wrap Up, Turn Down And Save
When you feel warmer in yourself, you should be able to turn down the heating, or run it for fewer hours each day.
One in five people in the UK have their heating set at a balmy 22ºC, and 1.4m households crank it up to a tropical 25ºC! Apart from costing a fortune, that sort of indulgence is sending their carbon emissions through the roof.
Turning down your thermostat can save you £80–£128 a year for every degree.
Climate scientists recommend setting the thermostat to 19ºC at the most, although elderly people should keep their living areas at 21ºC.
The World Health Organization says that 18ºC should be plenty for healthy, well-dressed people, and is definitely warm enough for sleeping. So turn down the dial, get your Heat Holders on and start saving right now!