Winter is coming.
As we approach the cold, dreary months of the year, energy bills sadly do not tend to drop with the temperature. Heating generally uses the most energy in households. Thankfully, there are smarter ways to keep your home warm in the chilly weather without your energy consumption exploding.
Attend to drafty windows
10-25% of a house's heat escapes through the windows. Reglazing or replacing windows can stop a draft from entering. Tight-fitting, insulating curtains also work effectively in blocking out the cold. Even draft stoppers (the snake-shaped tube of fabric) can prevent cold air from entering through windowsills. These are an easy DIY fix. Consult with your landlord before making any changes to the property.
Use your heater wisely
Take advantage of warm clothing, blankets, a nice woollen pair of socks or fluffy slippers/indoor shoes before opting for the heater. Turn off your heater whilst asleep to prevent over-heating. Avoid using the heater unnecessarily - don't heat rooms that are unoccupied.
To prevent the heat from escaping, close curtains and blinds when using the heater and shut doors to keep the room nice and toasty. Similarly, close the doors of any unoccupied rooms so the cooler air doesn't travel. And of course, turn off your heating when you leave the house. Unplugging your heater at the wall will further reduce your energy bill.
Make the most of the sun
Open curtains and windows during the warmer parts of the day so that the sunlight can naturally heat your home. Close them as soon as it becomes colder at night to reduce the affect of the cold windows.
Use what you've got
Try to reduce any heat loss from the fireplace by putting a glass barrier in front of it or keeping the damper partially closed. Similarly, seal any gaps in walls, floors and ceilings. Check that the insulation in the roof is adequate, otherwise the heat that rises will be lost.
If you have cold floors like tiles or timber, a large rug can help keep rooms warm and cosy, and reduce the need for heating.
Instead of using an electric blanket, try using flannelette sheets and woollen blankets. This will also help minimize your energy usage.