Keep toasty without breaking the bank
Keep warm on a budget, here are our 7 energy saving tips so that fighting off the frost this winter doesn’t have to hurt your bank balance – or the environment.
Crisp air, stiff fingers and hot chocolate can only mean one thing — winter is here. This year you don’t have to choose between braving the cold in misery or cranking up the heating, making our bills and environmental impact soar.
We’ve pulled together our top tips to help you stay toasty in your home, and while out and about, without having to compromise your ecological footprint, or your bank balance.
Keep heat in
Limit the heat that leaves your house by covering floorboards, shutting curtains and use draft excluders along your doors. By doing this, you will trap the heat in your home, reducing the need to use as much energy. Close off rooms and only heating areas that are in use will help your home run more efficiently, too. The fewer rooms used the better.
Try organising a games night in the living room, or ask everyone to pitch in with the washing up. If you don’t have a draft excluder, try making one. Just stuff a long socks with other material or bubble wrap, then tying the sock at the opening.
Nothing gives a true wintery feeling like enjoying a mug of hot soup or a hearty bowl of stew and dumplings; these dishes will help warm you up, too. Invest in eco-friendly, portable containers so you can take hot food and drink with you while you’re out and about. Reusable coffee cups are also a must — not only will they save you money, but they’ll also act as handwarmers. When you’re cooking at home, leave the oven door open once you’ve turned it off; the heat will help to warm up the room, rather than just going to waste.
Work your muscles to get your blood pumping and get you feeling warm. This can be as simple as going on a brisk walk around the block, taking the stairs instead of an escalator, or going on a quick jog to the end of the street and back. However, if you don’t want to venture outdoors, set up a circuit that can be completed in the comfort of your own home — try star jumps, jogging on the spot and step ups. Exercising can easily be made fun by switching up your routine or encouraging a family member or friend to join in with you — oh, and it will do wonders for your health.
One of the easiest and cheapest ways to keep warm on a budget is to simply layer up your clothing. Whether you’re on the go, or staying in and watching a film, wearing multiple thin layers, or wearing a vest or t-shirt under a jumper will help you feel snug and warm. Also, hit the high street and raid the charity shops for hats, coats and blankets. This is an easy way to stock up on warm items, while saving pennies and avoiding fast-fashion.
Instead of leaving the heating on overnight, which can wake you up in an unnecessary hot sweat, invest in good-quality bedding and use blankets, thick pyjamas and fluffy socks to stay warm in bed. Hot water bottles are great accessories to help brave the initial cold that hits as you enter an empty bed. However, if you don’t own one of your own, try making one. Fill an old sock with rice, add a few drops of essential oils then tie it in a tight knot. When you’re ready, heat your makeshift warmer in the microwave for 30 seconds. It might need extra time depending on the amount of rice used — but be careful, they can get very hot!
Insulate your home
According to the Energy Saving Trust, 25 per cent of heat is lost through the roof. To keep the heat in and the cold out, install at least 25cm of insulation in the loft. Windows are another major culprit of heat loss, so double-glazed windows may be a worthwhile investment. Also, adhere a piece of aluminum foil to the wall behind a radiator; the heat reflects away from the wall and back into the room. You may also want to cover any exposed pipes with lagging, and check that walls are well insulated, too.
Switch it up
Keep an eye on the market to ensure you’re with the cheapest, most efficient energy provider. Installing a smart meter will help you keep track of how much power you’re using, which will motivate you to use less, saving both heat and money. Also, be mindful of when and how long the heating is on for. New technology is giving us the power to turn the heating on from smartphone devices, so we can return to a warm house after being out in the cold. Although this is a nice idea, energy is being wasted, so the last of our energy saving tips is that it’s best to fight through the first chilly five minutes — the environment will thank you!
Check back regularly for more energy saving tips!