Now that the clocks have gone back and November is upon us, it feels like winter has well and truly arrived. With the chillier weather comes the inevitability of higher energy bills as we crank up the heating to keep the cold at bay.
Dull as it sounds, now is the time to look at ways of saving energy around the house.
Here are some of Clutton Cox’s top tips:
Let There Be Light
Did you know that up to eight percent of the average household’s energy bills is attributed to the cost of lighting.
As well as remembering to turn off lights when you leave a room, make sure you swop traditional bulbs for those that use a compact fluorescent bulb – they provide the same level of illumination and can save up to £55 over their lifetime.
Halogen bulbs are becoming increasingly popular too and use ten percent less energy than a normal lightbulb.
There’s nothing quite like a real fire, but an awful lot of heat is lost up a chimney when a fire is not in use, which mean hundreds of pounds in wasted energy.
If your fire is more aesthetic than anything, it might be time to think about having your chimney capped.
Alternatively, if you want to have the occasional fire, there is something called a chimney balloon, which blocks the flue when it’s not in use.
Cooking On Halogen
Not only does a halogen oven use 75 percent less energy than a conventional electric oven, it also speeds up the cooking time resulting in huge savings all round.
You can buy one that sits on your work surface for under a £100 that is big enough to hold a whole chicken and it will roast it in a speedy 30 minutes.
Even if you’ve already insulated your loft, it’s worth checking that it’s around a foot in depth as that’s the recommendation for optimal efficiency. If it’s not, it might be worth adding an extra layer as you could be losing up to a quarter of your home’s heat through your roof.
Draught-proofing is one of the cheapest, quickest and most efficient ways to save energy. Have a look around your house checking windows, access to the loft and outside doors to see where a draft excluder or other form of draught proofing can be implemented. You could save up to £55 a year – don’t forget your letter box too. Take a look at the Ecoflap, which was invented in the UK.
Contemporary showers can pack a real punch but can also use as much water in five minutes as it takes to fill a bath. Look out for energy efficient shower heads that still give you a power shower, but can cut water use by up to 50 percent. Which? Magazine found a £25 energy efficient shower head will have paid for itself in a single year.
Less Is More
Think about the rooms in your house that you could get away with not using during winter time. Then turn off the radiators, shut the door and forget about them until spring.
Now is a good time to switch out your duvet for one with a higher tog rating as this will mean you’ll wake up warm and toasty. This also means you won’t need to have your heat on as high either last thing at night or first thing in the morning. Invest in a warm pair of slippers and a good dressing gown too, instead of heating the house in readiness for the time you get up.
If the sun is making a rare winter appearance, no matter how cold it is outside, it can help to warm a room if it is shining through a window. As soon as the sun goes in at night, close up your curtains to keep the heat in.
Great Idea For Garages
Use your garage or outside storage area to keep things like cans of drinks cold instead of powering up a second fridge. This is a great idea at Christmas time as you’re more likely to need extra fridge space when you’re entertaining guests. It will save a lot more energy that you’d imagine.
People tend to use their tumble dryer a lot more in winter for obvious reasons. If you clean out the filter after each use, it will dry more efficiently, so saving you money.
The Energy Saving Trust has load more free energy saving tips, such as turning your heating down by 1C, filling your washing machine for every load, boiling only the water you intend to use when you boil a kettle and so on. If you used all its tips, the trust reckons some households could cut their energy bills by two thirds.
Visit energysavingtrust.org.uk to find out more ideas for saving money and cutting bills this winter.