With summer almost over for another year, our thoughts start to turn towards the prospect of cold, gloomy mornings and the possibility of a white Christmas.
As autumn approaches, it is an ideal time to prepare our homes for the winter, as in many cases just a few subtle changes can lead to massive savings.
It is reported that around 40% of our annual energy usage occurs in the winter, when heating and lighting are in much greater use.
Besides from drastic action like changing energy suppliers, there are plenty of ways to cut bills without the need to cut back so much that our quality of life suffers as a result.
Ahead of the long winter months, here are a few handy ideas that might just help you save a little bit extra for a larger Christmas turkey or an additional New Year’s firework.
‘Turn that light out’
No, you haven’t returned to the blackout days of the Second World War, but by turning off unnecessary lights it’s possible to save a fortune! As the nights are drawing in and the days are growing shorter, we all like to have the lights on more in the winter. But by switching off lights in unoccupied or unused rooms and by limiting the timers on outdoor lights, it’s possible to save.
Just because you’re at home it doesn’t mean that every light needs to be glowing brightly and nor does it mean that any Christmas lights need to be on for every minute of the day.
Fitting energy-saving light bulbs can also bring down your bills, saving roughly £3 a year for each one installed.
They are often just as bright as traditional bulbs and have the additional advantage of lasting a lot longer, this means you pay less and need to perch on a stool to change a bulb a lot less regularly.
Wrap up warm
It may sound obvious but by wearing extra layers in the winter it means the thermostat in your property needn’t be as high. Don’t think that you need to wear your thickest coats and three pairs of trousers either, just keep things sensible and alter the thermostat ever so slightly. Just turning it down by a single degree can cut bills by around 10% according to the Energy Savings Trust while greater cuts will save even further.
The less that your heating system has to work, then the lower your bills will be when the snows have cleared and spring begins to take over. Turning down the heat on radiators in unused rooms and having the heating controlled to come on at certain times can also cut wasted energy. Setting timers to come on at times when it is most needed, such as early in the morning or early evening will mean the house is warm while those in it need it to be.
Ensuring radiators are not blocked by furniture is also important, as this will stop heat spreading around the room. Alternatively, if you fancy being a little bit creative then placing foil behind radiators is a great way to ensure heat doesn’t escape from the property. Specialist foils are available for such a purpose but a good roll of tin foil will often do a very similar job but for a much lower price.
Mind the gap
It is predicted that around a third of a properties heat is lost in these areas so finding ways of combating it can be the difference a respectable fuel bill and one which may blow your mind, as well as your finances. Expanding foam is a great way of filling the gaps around doors and window frames – especially in older properties or ones with single glazing.
Meanwhile flapped draught excluders can be fitted to external doors to prevent heat escape while brushes can perform a similar role.