Winter is on the way, and with it the nagging worry over how to keep our homes warm while not spending a fortune on heating bills.
Many householders struggle to pay ever-increasing gas and electricity bills over the winter months, but there are a few simple steps everyone can take which will help conserve heat and reduce the cost of staying cosy.
Stop the Draughts
One of the biggest causes of heat loss - and therefore bigger heating bills - can be draughts. Older houses, particularly, are prone to having ill-fitting windows and doors which can cause the warmth to leak out.
Up to a third of a home’s heat can be lost through windows and doors, and whereas a gap under a door may seem insignificant, it can let in a surprisingly large amount of cold air.
The first measure to take is to locate any obvious draughts and block them, either with filler or by using draught excluders. And don’t underestimate the power of blinds and curtains - drawing them at dusk will help enormously.
Insulate, Insulate, Insulate
Ensuring your home’s insulation is up to scratch will mean heat loss is kept to a minimum. The biggest area to insulate is the loft - if your attic space is not insulated, you can be spending hundreds of pounds on heat which just rises straight up through your roof.
It is recommended that blanket-style insulation in a loft is laid at a depth of 250mm to 270mm. You may already have some insulation in your loft, but it's a good idea to check it and add some more if necessary.
It is also important to insulate your hot water tank and hot water pipes, along with any break tank booster sets you may have. This is one simple and effective way of ensuring that the heat you produce is delivered where it is needed. Insulation may cost you initially but could save hundreds of pounds annually on your heating bills.
See the Light
Replacing older less efficient light bulbs with the new energy-saving ones will reduce the amount of electricity you use to light your home in the long winter nights.
They do cost a bit more than traditional bulbs, but they last much longer - as long as 25 times longer - and use power more efficiently than the old filament bulbs, so there’s less chance of them needing replacing.
Stop the Mould
Damp and cold winters can increase the likelihood of mould growing inside your home, leading to you having to redecorate or carry out expensive building work later on.
By using mould control products to slow down and prevent mould growth, you can save on money in the long run. Make sure you use reputable products so you can rest assured your home will stay mould-free over the winter months.
Don’t Forget the Lint
In the summer, hanging out your wet washing on a line is the most energy-efficient way of drying, but this is of course not possible in the cold damp winter months.
A dryer uses a lot of electricity, but you can increase the efficiency of your dryer by remembering to change the lint filter on a regular basis. Simply replacing the filter for a new one will increase its efficiency enormously, helping you save money with very little effort.
Clear Out Your Gutters
After the autumn leaves have been blown all over the neighbourhood, it is likely your gutters will be full of debris.
Clearing them out - if you can’t do it safely yourself, get professional help - will stop leaks damaging your paintwork over the winter, leading to the need for costly repairs or redecorating.
Turn It Down
Simply lowering the temperature setting of your water heater by a small amount can save you money on heating bills - and you probably won’t even notice the reduction in temperature.
Getting thermostatic radiator valves in each room in your home, so you can control the heat in each area according to your needs, will also save you cash.
And don’t forget that if you’re leaving the house empty for any length of time (for instance, while visiting family over Christmas), you should leave your boiler ticking over. Use the frost setting, if there is one, to ensure you don’t return to a burst pipe.
Take these simple steps now and you will ensure your heating bills don’t give you a nasty surprise later on.
Amy Moulsdale is a Content Marketing Executive at Yoma, a full service digital agency based in Liverpool. Yoma works with leading brands across Europe to improve their Digital Strategy.