As we bid farewell to the warming comforts of mulled wine and mince pies, we move into what is turning out to be the wettest and windiest New Year’s months. With the weather looking to stay as dreary and cold for the foreseeable weeks and months ahead, we are still faced with the burden of keeping our homes heated.
Learn how to stay warm and save money…..
It was only recently reported that several large energy suppliers were ending their previous fixed-rate tariffs, which means that annual energy bills could potentially increase by up to £280, which will make keeping a house warm during winter significantly more expensive. If you want to avoid the chill but don’t want to break the bank, here are some alternative ways of keeping warm this winter.
Image courtesy of Red Moon Sanctuary on Flickr
The Energy Savings Trust estimates that a third of all heat in a home is lost through uninsulated walls alone. This is why it is crucial to ensure that your home is appropriately insulated before heating it, otherwise you will be wasting the warmth without reaping the benefits.
If your house was built after the 1920’s it is likely to have “cavity” walls – this is where the walls of the house are comprised of two walls placed closely together with an empty space between. Typically, insulating a cavity walled house can shave £140 off an annual energy bill. Now that’s a significant amount that can be added to a summer holiday or rainy day fund, rather than being lost by heat escaping your home.
By turning to environmentally-friendly energy sources you can not only help the save the planet, but your bank balance too. One approach to heating your home that is not only ecological but also economical is installing a heat pump. Heat pumps take naturally-occurring heat from the ground or air and transfer it to your home, where it is distributed accordingly.
According to BSW Building Services, air and ground source heat pumps have the potential to knock 70% off annual heating bills’. Heat pumps can be fitted to suit the existing radiator systems already present in a home, and can last three times as long as a boiler, making them a worthwhile money-saving investment to keep you cosy and your finances rosy. Another plus is that the heat pumps can also be reversed to keep your quarters cool in the summertime.
In times of cold weather we often turn to comfort food to keep ourselves cosy, and this can also benefit the temperature of a home. An oven emits heat and dries out humidity in the air, which can otherwise make an area feel colder due to the damp in the air.
Image courtesy of Chippenziedeutch on Flickr
Also, by cooking at home you will not only be generating a little extra warmth but also saving yourself money by not eating out. At the end of cooking also comes the best part; eating. When you ingest warm food and drink it helps to raise your body’s core temperature, which helps you to feel warmer on those cold winter nights.
Hot water bottles and heated blankets
Many people choose to operate their homes’ heating system via a thermostat timer, which means that the heating will only be switched on during times when people are in the house and/or using certain rooms. It makes financial sense to be fairly sparing with central heating, so there might be times of the day or night where the house is a little colder than usual.
To keep yourself warm without having to have the heating turned on around the clock, you can boost your bed’s temperature with an electric blanket that is plugged into the mains and placed underneath your normal bedding. An even more energy-efficient option is to fill up a hot water bottle and place it in your bed a few minutes before you climb under the covers – this will ensure for a snugger temperature between the sheets and also keep you warm as you drift off to sleep.
Reverse your ceiling fan
Ceiling fans are often associated with keeping you cool during the sweltering summer months, but they can actually be used all year round. Those wanting to keep warm while protecting their wallet can reverse their ceiling fans so that they spin in a clockwise direction, as this pushes the warm air from the top of the room down towards the space that you occupy beneath.
Image courtesy of Pziarnik on Flickr
Aside from these options, there are also the ever-popular (but debatably effective) methods of keeping warm such as wearing woolly socks and cuddling a companion. Why not try them alongside the above to have a truly toasty start to the New Year?
Penny Atkinson writes on a number of subjects including eco friendly living, recycling and saving money.