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How to Save Energy this Winter
Energy bills just seem to get more and more expensive, particularly as the winter approaches. Try these handy tips, however, and your energy bills won’t necessarily have to break the bank this Christmas.
1. Switch suppliers
Many of us are comfortable with our energy suppliers; we have been with them for years, the bills are automatically debited out of our bank accounts – why change now? But you could be wasting hundreds of pounds a year by not using the cheapest supplier for your area. To find the best deals, search internet comparison sites. They will work out what you could be saving and which provider can supply the services you need for the best price.
Switched in the last couple of years? Well, switch again! You really need to compare prices every twelve months to ensure you are still on the best deal.
Sometimes you have to speculate to accumulate, and this saying could be true with regard to insulation. If your loft and cavity walls haven’t been insulated, then heat (and with it, your hard-earned cash) could be leaching out of your property. Think of insulation as an investment which will see you make savings in the long run. Depending on your situation, you might even be eligible for a discount or freebie on insulation – speak to your local council to find out what schemes run in your local area.
Don’t forget about pipes, either. When the cold snap hits, plumbers are inundated with callouts due to burst pipes, which occur when the water inside the pipes freezes and then thaws, causing the pipes to expand and contract. You can stop the pipes freezing in the first place – or minimise the risk at least – by having lagging put around the pipes. This is a type of foam insulation that prevents the pipes from becoming frozen. Ta da!! Frost-free pipes which continue to work as they should through the winter and your pennies stay in your pocket; not the plumber’s.
3. Use a timer
It’s so easy to switch the heating on and forget about it, and particularly when it’s frosty outside, most of us could probably happily keep the heating on 24/7. Do you really need to, though? Set your heating to come on first thing in the morning so it will be toasty when you get up, and then again for the early evening when you and your family or housemates all arrive home. A couple of hours of heating a day should see you through unless the temperature is in minus figures. And don’t forget to turn the timer off completely if there’s a slightly warmer day – you could be burning your earnings by heating a house that’s perfectly comfortable as it is.
4. Turn down or turn off
It’s surprising the amount of energy you can save by turning down the thermostat a notch or two or turning a radiator down or even off in a room that isn't being used. Try it and see if you even notice the difference in temperature – you’ll certainly notice the difference in your pocket when the bill arrives.
5. Bleed radiators
If your home is feeling particularly icy despite the heating being on constantly, then give your radiators a feel. Are they cold at the top? Then your radiators are not acting efficiently and it probably means they need bleeding. Bleeding is required when air gets trapped inside the radiators, preventing them from heating up fully. Luckily, this is a job you can do easily – and cheaply – for yourself. Get hold of a radiator key for a pound or so (you may already have one knocking about the house), open the valve slightly and let out the air. Once water starts to come out, you know all the air has been extracted and you can re-tighten the valve again. If you are unsure how to do this, no doubt your mum, dad or a friend will know – and there are plenty of videos on the internet which can guide you through this simple process. Once you're done, you’ll have a snuggly home once more!
6. Sometimes the traditional ways are best.
If you’re lucky enough to have an open fire or woodburning stove in your house, use it! With the heat filtering upwards through the chimney, a fire will help to heat your whole house, not just the room where it is located. If you can reuse second-hand wood, then so much the better – try the local tip or builder’s yard, or save any old branches you might have chopped down from trees (don’t forget not to use any wood that has been varnished, though, as burning such wood can let off poisonous fumes).
Also invest in (or, thriftier still, make) a couple of draught excluders to stick in front of your doors. If you’re crafty, they can easily be put together for next-to-nothing from some foam and some old fabric and will help stop cold air sneaking in from the gap between the door and the floor – and if you use some jazzy fabric, they can also help to brighten up your home!
7. Put on a jumper!
We’ve all been there. Your partner, child or housemate is moaning about how cold they are, yet they are sitting in the living room in December in a T-shirt! Sometimes the answer is as simple as putting on more clothes or snuggling in a blanket with a nice warm cup of tea or a cheeky mulled wine! Sounds like my idea of a cosy winter’s night!
If you are having any problems with your heating this winter, Julie Twist Properties can help! We have a dedicated Maintenance department on hand to deal with all your emergencies: