Our community reporter Pauline Smith has kindly put together these tips to help you save energy and money whilst keeping warm.
Here are some tips taken from several sources to help you manage your energy consumption, most of which are based on having gas central and water heating.
Many of the tips are useful if you have storage heaters, oil or any other kind of heating.
This article can be read in combination with ‘staying warm this winter’.
1. Make sure your hot water and heating is at the right temperature.
• This is the temperature the water is when it leaves your boiler. Set it to 50C for hot water and 55C for heating.
• If you have no temperature dials on your boiler then set the controls so that if they are circular you have both at around ten minutes to 12, assuming that the dial is like a clock. It may take longer to heat up the house or the water, but you will use less energy.
2. Prevent draughts
• Use draught excluders for doors that lead outside. They cost around £7 or use an old pair of tights and rice
• A letter box draught excluder will help
• Silicone sealant (£5) to seal gaps around the edges of doors and windows • Keep doors between rooms closed when not in use
3.Hot water for dishes
• Don’t have it at 60C only to add cold water for showers and baths
• How hot do you need water to wash dishes? At 60C serious scalding happens in less than 5 seconds
• You need 75C to kill bacteria on dishes. 30-40C is OK to loosen grease and oils and washing up liquid will lift bacteria easily
• Disinfect the sink regularly
4. Timing is key
• Cut your bills by turning off or down helps when you are out of the house or in bed
• Have your heating come on 30 mins before you need it and stop 30 mins early as well
• In my view heating should run at a lower temperature when you are asleep or out, as you use more energy bring a cold home back to temperature.
• However, many people like to turn it off
5. Night times
• Pull your curtains before it gets dark – make sure the curtains don’t cover the radiators otherwise you are heating the sky.
• Close all open windows. 6. Using the thermostat • 18-21C is the ideal range
• Setting a higher temperature won’t warm your house more quickly
• Do NOT use the thermostat as an on off switch – set it and leave it – if you are 65+ then have it at least 18C when you are up and about
7. Keep yourself warm not the whole of your home
• Set temperature at 18C and use couch blankets, onesies or heat packages
• Wear layers of clothes – not extra socks but your chest
• Keep your core warm with a T shirt or vest under a jumper or cardigan
• A mix of several layers is better than a fleece
8. Help your radiators do a better job
• Make sure furniture is not too close or you heat the furniture not the room
• Do NOT dry clothes on radiators
• Use a radiator airer or separate clothes airer
• Use reflector foil behind radiators so the wall doesn’t absorb the heat
• Give radiators a clean – lots of dust will act as a heat absorber
• Use a radiator fan to distribute heat into the room quicker
• Get smart radiator valves – thermostatic valves allow you to control manually each room and don’t need you be tech savvy
• Common areas for heat loss are loft hatches and draughty floors. Add lagging to loft hatch and block draughts onto floors.
• If you have a hot water tank an extra layer of lagging will help Main areas to insulate
• open windows, under doors and gaps around windows
• insulate loft hatches If you are having building work then think about under floor insulation *** Make sure your loft has insulation especially in older houses
10. Keep your core warm
• If you have gas hobs heat hot water with an electric kettle
• Comfort foods are popular in the winter for a reason. Your body temperature increases when it works hard to digest food, especially if its high in protein and fat
• Use a slow cooker, a 150W slow cooker being used for 15 hours 42 minutes matches one hour with an electric oven on.
• Have a brew – A warm mug goes a long way
11. Block your chimney if you don’t use it
• You can get environmentally friendly blockers from felted sheep wool
12. Open windows for a few minutes a day Just to let fresh dry air inside
• Dry air heats faster than muggy air
13. Use rugs With hardwood or tiled floors rugs trap warm air
14. Gentle Exercise
• Raise your metabolism and creates more heat
• A brisk walk outside or a walk round inside