Every winter we’re given the same top tips for saving energy in the home. Installing ceiling insulation and manually sealing every gap and crack in sight is all very well, but sometimes we just want a quick fix that won’t break the bank.
Before we share our top 10 energy-saving tips, here are some of the more ‘creative’ solutions that can be found on the wonderful world of the web…!
“A cost-effective way of heating left-over pizza while keeping warm: heat the base with an iron and use a hairdryer to melt the cheese!”
“It’s not for everyone, but I generate organic energy. If I’m cold I’ll complete 25 push-ups and 25 sit- ups. It’s green, and it keeps me lean.”
“To save energy costs our family camps on weekends and we catch and cook our own food (by campfire) two nights during the week. The act of catching food keeps you warm followed by an evening in front of a hot fire.”
Tempted? Maybe not. Here are our practical, cost-saving (and realistic) tips you can adopt this winter to help your family stay warm this winter:
1. DIY draught stopper
The fondly named ‘sausage dog’ is essential furniture for many homes in the cooler months. For those that don’t know, it is used to cover the gap between the the door and floor, preventing cold air from coming in and hot air escaping. Before you Google ‘sausage dogs’ you might want to have a go at making one yourself. They’re simple to make and you can have fun decorating it (or you could mask the job as a game for the kids!).
Take a pair of tights and stuff them with whatever you fancy: old clothing, rice, or cottonwool. Or take the pool noodle out of hibernation and wrap it with bubblewrap or a towel — make it useful for a couple of months while the pool is unused…
2. Tin foil
Place tin foil on the wall behind your heaters as a crafty way of trapping the heat in your home. It prevents the heat from escaping through the wall, instead being reflected back into the room.
There is professional foil that you can use, or the DIY version – good old kitchen foil. If you opt for the
latter you could treat yourself to a pair of cosy bed socks with your savings!
After pulling your freshly-cooked dinner out of the oven, turn it off but then keep the oven door open. The kitchen may have a lingering smell of roast dinner but that’s not a bad thing! And best of all you can label yourself the ultimate multi-tasker — feeding and heating the family in one swoop.
This simple manoeuvre can also apply to shower time. Leave the bathroom door open and let the warm steam waft through the house — unless you live in a house-share of course, that could be awkward.
4. Re-arrange furniture
It’s an obvious one which makes it an easy one to miss. Do not put anything in front of the heating source, such as your gas heater or radiator. That includes an arm chair, clothes horse or dog. Leave a gap between the bed and the wall, it’s surprising how such a small move can make such a big difference.
5. Heavy curtains
Did you know that up to 40% of heat escaping from your home in winter is from uncovered windows? Opt for heavy, lined curtains that reach below the bottom of the window frame.
6. Insulate hot water pipes
Insulating tape can be bought cheaply from your local hardware shop. Simply wrap your hot water pipes to reduce heat loss to the outside, which means that it takes less energy to heat your hot water.
7. Find and conquer the mini-draughts
Homes are often full of sneaky areas responsible for the mini-draught, a draught small enough not to notice but big enough to make a difference. The source of a mini-draught, and areas of your home to look out for, include: a door’s letterbox, keyhole and catflap. Once you’ve found the culprits, find a way of blocking the gap, whether it’s a piece of material over the hole of the catflap, or a keyhole cover.
8. Let in the light!
If you’re lucky enough to have the sun streaming through your lounge windows then make sure you keep the curtains open by day to soak up the heat. But as soon as the sun goes down, close them to reduce the chill.
9. Get a rug down
Have you got wooden floorboards? If so you’re probably losing a lot of heat. Floors account for as much as 10% heat loss if they’re not insulated. You should be able to sort this on the cheap. If you watch TV ads you’ll know rugs are always on sale!
There we have 10 cost-saving tips for keeping warm while saving energy. Get to work on insulating your home, and if all else fails, treat yourself to a hot toddy and layer up!