Now that the clocks have gone back, we come to the damning realisation that the short-term gain of an extra hour in bed comes at a terrible price: drastically reduced hours of daylight and the inevitability of cold mornings and even colder nights. You turn to your old friend, central heating, for support in these literally dark times, but at an even greater cost – higher bills.
So, as we hunker down for our own individual approach to winter hibernation, how can you keep warm without paying the consistently rising prices for energy, regardless of whether or not you’re on a gas or electric boiler? Here, we impart the wisdom of the team for tips that have helped them over the colder months.
Don’t use the room? Don’t heat it.
It’s a daft thing to open with in the minds of many, but even the thriftier consumer can overlook this. You should really only consider heating the rooms you use regularly: living room, perhaps the dining room, the odd corridor, the bathroom (no-one likes a cold toilet seat), and bedroom (and even then, you can turn on the radiator for an hour before bed). Focus on what you use and what you don’t.
Wear a jumper.
This is by no means a uniform approach to fighting heating bills, but it’s still important. If you’re too warm with heating on to put a second layer on, maybe you’re overdoing it. That said, if your ears and hands are cold after half an hour of walking into your home, you’re not doing enough with your heating. Balance your radiators with your own natural warmth.
Gap under the door? Get rid.
Draught excluders are popular for a reason. Look at doors with gaps under them and address them straight away – you don’t want heat to escape. You don’t even need to buy them, unless you want your home to be aesthetically pleasing as well as functional – a football sock filled with heavy fabric is usually enough.
Get out your candles for draught hunting.
Windows and dividing walls are a nightmare for draughts at times, but to ensure you’re on top of these, get a candle out and go to the possible sources of gaps. If you get a regular flicker (or, god forbid, the candle goes out), seal the gap. Caulk is usually a good start; you’ll be surprised just how much a little gap can have an effect on heat in a room.
Don’t assume it’s always terrible.
The worst thing about the UK, and Europe generally, is the fact it surprises you when you least expect it. Even in late October, London was getting temperatures of over 19C. Check your weather before you set a plan of action for your heating. You never know, it may save you the best part of £3 or £4 just to keep your curtains open and have the sun heat your house through your double-glazing.