Worried About Your Energy Bills? Want To Know How To Winterize Your Home?
Autumn/Fall is on it’s way and with it the potential for a large increase in your energy bills. Humans are warm bloodied creatures so we like to be warm whether it’s summer or winter.
Being warm in winter can come at a price – a hike in our energy bills. Right now the sun is shining and the wintry weather you know is coming seems a long way away.
But now is a good time to to prepare your house, minimise your energy consumption and keep your energy bills from going through the roof. Without sacrificing the feelings of warmth.
Here in the UK we don’t usually get the extremes of weather that our friends in the US and Canada get but last winter was a serious shock to the system.
We had snow! In the South of England! I know, shocking isn’t it?!
The problem is our UK homes are not built to be super efficient and warm during really cold weather as it’s not something we often have. So when the snow descends the energy bills can rocket.
Not so in the Tuppenny household, we are preparing like we do every year to keep ourselves warm and keep our energy consumption down.
We might not have super harsh winters but we have no intention of paying higher energy bills just because we haven’t taken the right steps to keep them down.
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Reduce Your Energy Consumption – Turn the Heating Off Over Night
If you are in a really cold climate you probably can’t afford to turn the heating off overnight as the temperature would drop too much.
We save energy by happily turning the heating off at 9.30pm every winters’ evening. It kicks back in 20 minutes before we get up.
On a crisp winters day the inside temperature will drop to around 13c/55f. As I am first up it’s fairly cold when I get up first but my morning routine is one of doing, not sitting around.
If you are doing – getting showered, getting dressed and getting breakfast – then you are moving around and will keep warm that way.
Even in winter I have a cold shower although I do rinse with hot water as the brain freeze gets to me!
Ways to Save Energy – Turn the Thermostat Down
Once we have completed all our jobs for the day/evening then you are likely to find us relaxing on the sofa, possibly watching TV or talking.
You can get quite cold when you are sitting down after a while so the impulse, preference, habit is to turn the thermostat up as you feel cold.
Instead we have beautiful blankets that we snuggle under if we start feeling the cold. We keep our house at a balmy 66F/19C in the evening and 61F/16C during the day.
Ways to Save Energy – Service Your Boiler or Furnace
Although an annual service will cost you a small chunk of change, it is part of your essential home maintenance which will pay dividends every year.
Servicing your boiler/furnace will ensure not only is it operating safely but also at optimum energy efficiency. The more efficient your heating system is the lower your energy bills will be.
Energy Saving Tip – Insulate Your Attic
If your attic is not adequately insulated you can lose a huge amount of heat straight up into the attic and then the atmosphere. The general guidelines for what level of insulation you should have has changed a few times over the past 20 years.
If your insulation is more than 10 years old you might want to consider adding to it. This will cost you money but will pay for itself in a couple of years.
Energy Saving Tip – Wear Extra Layers
Shorts and t-shirts are for the hot summer months. They are not for winter days where you turn the thermostat up to keep warm. Winter clothes are for winter and that includes more than one layer.
Mr2p doesn’t feel the cold as much as I do so whilst he might wear a long sleeved shirt and possibly a fleece on a cold day. I will be in a thermal top, further long sleeved top and a warm fleece.
As an added warmth factor I tend to wear fleece lined trousers in the winter. So comfy and keep me toasty warm.
Reduce Your Energy Consumption – Only Heat the Rooms You Use
Don’t waste energy heating those rooms that aren’t being used from one day to the next. We keep the spare room door closed and the radiator turned off/very low.
We only use our bedroom for sleeping in and we have a lovely warm duvet so we don’t heat this very much either. It’s usually 5 degrees cooler in our bedroom than the lounge.
We also like the window open at night so there’s no point having the heating on, only to watch it fly out of the window!
Reduce Your Energy Consumption – Heat The House Only When You’re at Home
With both of us usually being out of the house all day it seems pointless and wasteful to be using energy to heat an empty house. Our boiler programme is set to kick in 30 mins before one of us arrives home.
If we get home early we can override the programme so it kicks in straight away. You can also operate your thermostat via an app with some systems.
We have a minimum setting similar to frost protection setting so if the house drops below 54F/12C then the heating will kick to bring it up to this minimum level.
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How to Save Energy – Make Use of Sunny Days
We are lucky that our house faces due south and we have large windows which let in a lot of light. During Autumn, Winter and Spring we get free heating courtesy of the sun.
Keeping our curtains open all day allows the sun in to heat the house nicely. Obviously in the summer we have the opposite problem and have to keep them closed!
The sun pouring through double glazed glass really heats up a room and will help you keep your energy bills down low.
Energy Saving Tip – Put Blankets on Your Bed
On cold winter nights, instead of keeping the heating on or turning up the thermostat, put a couple of extra blankets on everyone’s bed. Extra layers will make everyone feel wonderfully cosy and warm without increasing your energy bills.
Energy Saving Tip – Invest in Thick Curtains
Curtains can make a real difference to your home. Not only do they add a nice touch to the look of your rooms but they can be highly functional and help you keep warmth in and the cold out.
Thick, lined curtains are perfect to help you save electricity yet keep your house cosy.
Save Electricity – Keep Your Curtains Closed at Night.
Curtains are a real energy saving winner, especially if you have lovely thick lined ones. Utilise their warmth properties by closing your curtains as soon as the sun has set.
They will keep the warmth inside your house instead of letting it escape through your windows as the outside becomes colder.
Save Electricity – Keep Your Radiators Free
There is a tendency to place sofas up against the radiators in your living room. And beds or cupboards against radiators in your bedrooms.
Doing this actually blocks the heat from moving freely around your rooms and you end up with a colder room. Which in turn is likely to encourage you to turn your thermostat up.
If you have curtains above a radiator make sure they aren’t floor length and thereby stop the heat from getting into your rooms. Curtains that finished just above your radiators work best in doing their own job of keeping the warmth in and helping the radiator do its job of giving out warmth.
Reduce Your Energy Consumption – Don’t Let Heat Escape Through Gaps in Your Windows and Doors
Insulate your window and doors to keep the warmth inside your house. If you haven’t yet got double or triple glazing then if your budget allows you might want to consider investing in these.
However that’s a long term energy reduction strategy which could cost you a significant amount of money upfront. In the meantime, double glazing or not, you can add plastic coverings to your windows to act as an additional thermal layer.
It’s rather like putting cling film on your windows, where you use a hair dryer to create a taught finish. Sounds a little crazy but it works! We used it on our first house as we couldn’t afford to make any home improvements.
It helped us reduce our energy bills during 2 winters before we could afford to have double glazing installed.
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Save Energy By Warming Your Floors
If you don’t have underfloor heating then laying thick carpets will help you keep warmth in the room. I love a real wood floor but they can make the house feel cold. Wood floors can be made warmer by throwing down a couple of rugs.
Be Smarter With Your Energy Consumption – Cook and Bake More
Using your oven more during the winter months gives you extra heat which will make it’s way through the house. In the summer you wouldn’t want your oven on for a few hours.
But in the winter, comforting foods that warm you up from the inside tend to lend themselves to being cooked in an oven. Think hearty casseroles, lasagna and a good old roast. You have the added benefit of the oven warmth being shared whilst you enjoy a hearty meal.
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How to Keep Your House Warm and Your Energy Bills Low This Winter – Bonus Tip
If you haven’t changed your energy provider recently then you definitely should look into doing so. Many energy providers offer fixed rates so you know what your bills will be for the fixed period.
The problem with fixed rates is when they finish you end up on your providers variable rate which is never a good deal. If you’re in the UK why not sign up to MoneySavingExpert’s Cheap Energy Club?
You’ll be notified when better deals than your current provider are offered and receive reminders when your fix is ending. No chance of paying more than necessary when you use this club.