How to keep your house warm this winter without increasing your heating bills
As we enter the colder months, keeping our homes warm without tripling the cost of our heating bills might feel like a daunting task.
But as the heating bills go up, as a result of the soaring cost of wholesale gas and a subsequent rise in the price cap, put your energy into keeping costs down with some of these money saving suggestions.
1. Check everything is working
Ensuring that your system is running efficiently - and safely - is the first thing to check off your list. A quick annual check by a certified gas engineer will ensure you're ready to go into the coldest months of the year in the best position possible.
2. Use the sunlight
It won't be like basking in August sunshine but if the winter sun is shining don't shut it out. If it is streaming through your windows, blind experts Thomas Sanderson insist opening blinds, nets and curtains will help warm a room using sunlight without needing to turn the heating on. But when the free heat has gone, be sure to close them come dusk so that they can act as a layer of insulation.
3. Watch out for mini draughts
Draught proofing your house will stop your home losing heat but some methods can be costly and take time. You can however get small wins from checking where heat might be escaping in either accidental gaps which require repair such as larger spaces between floorboards or in window seals or through items in your home such as a poorly fitting letterbox, the cat flap or the chimney not in use for example.
It is possible to buy letterbox flaps or brushes to help draught-proof the front door and you can also buy chimney balloons and other protective measures to stop chimney breasts sucking the warmth out of your home like a vacuum cleaner.
3. Layer up
It seems obvious but putting on that extra jumper, or a pair of slippers rather than walking around in socks or bare feet indoors, really can save you money if you’re trying to keep your bills down.
Wearing extra clothes or getting under a blanket is a cost-free way to stay warm at home and feels extra cosy. Hot water bottles in between the sheets at bedtime is also another low-cost way to feel warm at night time if your room is cold and you'd prefer not to heat it. And remember if you're using an electric blanket - Age UK suggest these are checked every three years by a qualified electrician.
4. Keep doors closed
Reducing airflow is always successful in helping your home stay warm for longer as heat cannot escape through open doorways.
If you know you and the family are going to be in the living room all evening, closing the door to the rest of the house will help keep it warmer - particularly if there's a number of bodies in the room too. And using individual radiator thermostats if you have them can be very helpful in turning heating up and down depending on the rooms you're using.
5. Clear your radiators
Is your furniture blocking your radiators or preventing heat moving around the room? It can be tempting to think that having sofas, chairs or dining tables near your heat sources will make you feel more cosy but it can block warming the rest of the room. Positioning furniture so that it doesn't block the flow of heat from radiators will heat your home more effectively. And while we can all struggle to dry our washing in winter - ensuring your radiators are clear of clothes and belongings will make them more useful too.
6. Thermal curtains and draught excluders
Thermal curtains, or even those with a thick heavy lining, can do an excellent job in winter of keeping the heat inside every room. If you don't want to splash out, lining them yourself with a fleece like material would work well too. If you're really struggling to keep the heat in, curtains do not just have to be for windows either. Hanging one on a pole across, for example, the front door, is also an excellent and quick way to keep the heat from escaping out the front of your home.
Draught excluders can be equally efficient too for the bottoms of doors - perhaps just like you remember parents or grandparents owning. Even a rolled up blanket placed against the bottom of the patio doors will do the job of blocking a draught and making the floor feel warmer.
7. Place foil behind the radiator
It is possible to buy energy saving radiator reflector panels that fit behind central heating radiators to reflect the heat normally lost into the wall.
But a cheaper, quicker and more temporary measure for those really cold days can involve just placing panels of foil behind the radiators, which will do an adequate job of distributing the warm air in the right direction. This very simple idea can also mean you can often heat your home much quicker and turn the heating down, or off, much sooner.