It’s beginning to look a lot like… winter. What we tentatively call summer has drifted away, the mornings and nights are getting dark and the shops are already stocking up on Christmas stuff.
All that’s left to come is the cold weather. As well as the big things like upgrading your heating system or adding extra insulation, there are a few small changes you can make to avoid those hefty energy bills. We’ve put together a list of tips to help you keep cosy while keeping the costs down.
Down with drafts
Draughts sweeping through your home can really carry the cold in and let the heat out. Draught-proofing windows and doors is a brilliantly effective way to keep your home nice and cosy. You’ll lose less heat which means you could save between £25 to £35 on your heating bills if for example you installed draught proofing strips on doors and windows. And because your home will feel that bit warmer, you’ll be able to turn down the thermostat a little.
Or if you want something a bit more creative and you’re so inclined, knit your own version of our mascot Doug. He improves the look of any door.
Put your home in hibernation
Bears do it, so do hedgehogs. And squirrels are partial to a deep winter slumber too. Take a tip from nature, when it’s cold outside, it’s time to shut down and hibernate. Same goes for any rooms in your home that you don’t tend all the time, like the spare bedroom or the conservatory.
Heating and hot water account for around half the money spent on fuel bills, so close the doors, cut off the draughts and just heat the bits of your house that you’re actually using. Turn down the radiators when you leave a room and if the house starts to feel warm enough tweak your room thermostat by one degree – that alone could save you £80 - £85 a year.
Apart from keeping the draughts at bay, you’ll find heating a smaller area means it’s warmer, quicker.
Don't block the heat
Braving the outdoors to put the washing out is sometimes not worth thinking about. But by hanging washing over radiators to dry means you’ll block the heat that should be warming up your home.
Far better to buy a clothes horse and position it near a radiator. That way everyone feels the benefit and you still end up with dry clothes. Same goes for bulky furniture, like sofas and chairs. Put them too close to a radiator and they’ll absorb the heat and reduce efficiency. Move them instead and let the heat flow.
Stay snug by hanging reflective foil behind radiators. It’ll help stop the heat escaping through the wall.
On socks, jumpers and cups of tea. But even better is doubling up on curtains. If you have an old set lying about then hang them on top of your current set to really keep the window chills out. Opt for lined or insulated curtains, they’ll help keep even more heat in. Warmth can escape through windows – even when they’re double glazed. And when it’s windy and rainy outside, it can just make it feel that bit cooler inside. So pull down blinds, draw the curtains tight and snuggle up.
Get cosy in a cup
There are lots of ways to ward off the chill. Why not invest in some nice warming drinks? Stock up on your favourite tea or treat yourself to a really good tub of hot chocolate. Or why not use up some leftovers and get a pot of soup on the go? We highly recommend Granny Bab’s Scotch Broth.
Keep some to share with elderly neighbours, that way you can check they’re okay and treat them to some hearty homemade nourishment. Hot meals and warm drinks heat us up from the inside out, warding off the chills and giving us that lovely warm glow.
There’s nothing nicer than snuggling up in a dressing gown, big thick socks and pyjamas. So why not use the cold as an excuse to get cosy? Disappear under a big fluffy blanket – like wrapping yourself in a giant hug. Or raid the wardrobe for those chunky knits and cosy sweaters, you’ll be toasty in no time.
Best way to keep the chills at bay is to wear lots of thinner layers which trap your own body’s heat, keeping you nice and warm, naturally. A vest top under your PJs will do the trick. And, of course, you can’t beat the warm glow from a hot water bottle. Costs a lot less than heating the house and you’ll feel snug as a bug in... pyjamas.
Find out more in New Leaf.