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7 Tips to Stay Warm and Save Money This Winter

Nov 9, 2019 | Energy

7 Tips to Stay Warm and Save Money This Winter
7 Tips to Stay Warm and Save Money This Winter

With rising energy costs, you may be wondering what to do to save money, but still stay warm this winter. It may seem like a daunting issue, but there are some measures you can take to ensure you and your family don’t have to feel the chill and still save money on energy bills.

1). Check & Wrap Your Boiler

Have your boiler serviced annually, just to make sure everything is working as it should. An annual check up can find minor problems and fix them before they become more expensive problems. You’ll also know right away when it’s time to replace the boiler. If you’re in that situation, opt for a high efficiency boiler.

An older boiler that’s not working properly will cost you dearly. A high efficiency boiler may be a more expensive investment in the short term, while in the long run you’ll save both money and energy waste by investing in a new boiler.

It’s also a good idea to wrap your boiler with insulation. You can find kits at most hardware stores. This measure helps both to conserve heat and save you money.

2). Draught Proofing

One of the easiest ways to save money and keep your home more cosy in the colder months is to plug any gaps in your doors and windows. When gaps aren’t plugged, hot air quickly and easily escapes, letting in the cold air. This makes your boiler work harder to keep the house warm, which in turn increases your energy bills.

Other areas for concern include letter boxes (these can let draughts into your home), extractor fans and unused fireplaces.

  • Close all windows & doors: to stop drafts from windows, make sure the windows are closed. Then consider investing in thermal curtains or blinds, which have a backing made of insulating material.
  • Use draught excluders: another option that works on both windows and doors is to use draught excluders. You’ll find these come in a variety of styles, from self-adhesive foam tape to under the door draught excluders made of various materials. Your local hardware store probably carries a variety of these, which you can use to close gaps in doors and windows.
  • Builder’s plastic for windows: another method to use on draughty windows is to use builder’s plastic. If you can’t afford double glazed windows, then buy some builder’s plastic and tape it over your windows. While this may not look very elegant, it does work well to help maintain warmth and keep out the cold. In fact, this method is even better when combined with the insulated window treatments we mentioned above.
  • Fireplace draught excluder: when it comes to your fireplace there are a couple of options to choose from. One is a draught excluder made of a felted wool paddle that has a handle. Or you can choose the balloon type of excluder for your fireplace. This type of draught excluder is made of a balloon that has a handle on one side. Both types of fireplace excluders work by plugging the chimney, to prevent heat loss up through the chimney, while also keep cold air from descending through the chimney. Both types are easy to install.

The main goal is to find draughts and plug any gaps to keep heat in, while keeping cold air outside in the winter.

3). Invest in a Smart Heat Controller

Investing in a smart heat controller can help you save money and have better control over your home’s heating system. What is a smart heat controller? Let’s take a look.

A smart thermostat (heat controller) is a type of thermostat that’s connected to your smartphone or tablet. They make it easy to control your home’s heating system, even when you’re away from home.

If you’re going to be out and about for a good part of the day, you can easily turn the heat down remotely. Then you can set the heat controller to turn the heat up just before you get home. This way, you don’t waste energy to heat your home when you’re not there, saving both money and energy.

Additional features for this type of heat controller include:

  • Voice control: use your voice to tell the controller to change the temperature—no need to get up and manually switch the thermostat
  • Temperature alerts: if your home’s temperature becomes too low, putting your water pipes at risk of freezing, you’ll receive in alert
  • Weather/time/temperature display: you’ll have constant information on the weather, current temperature and time of day, allowing you to easily adjust your home’s heating as necessary
  • Connect with other smart technology: some smart thermostats allows you to connect to other smart devices including Google Home, Alexa, etc.

You can choose from British Gas’s Hive, Google’s Nest. If you don’t feel knowledgeable enough to install this type of controller, an engineer can come and install the system for you.

The goal with this type of heat controller is to have better control of the temperature at all times, including when you’re away from home. You’ll save both money and energy.

nest smart thermostat

4). Switch to LED Bulbs

When it comes to saving money on heating your home, light bulbs are not the first thing that comes to mind. What difference can light bulbs make in saving money, even in winter? Let’s take a look.

LED bulbs use much lower amounts of electricity than the older bulbs and halogens. In fact, LED bulbs generally use about 90% less energy that older bulbs. Not only that, but the price of LED bulbs has also fallen in the last few years, making them a more economical choice for everyone.

LED bulbs come in the same sizes as your older bulbs. When buying LED bulbs, just choose lights with the same size socket you currently have, buy them and screw them in like normal.

This is one of the easiest ways to cut down on energy use in the winter and the summer. And most everyone can install the new bulbs. You don’t need any special knowledge, etc.

You’ll soon see your electric bill come down, saving you money and lowering energy use in the long term.

led bulbs

5). Underfloor Insulation

In older homes, those built between 1930 & 1950, may have a type of flooring called suspended timber floors. If you have air bricks or ventilation bricks outside your walls, then this is the type of flooring you probably have. If you’re not sure, you may need to use these methods to check the type of flooring in your home:

  • Basement or cellar: if you can see the undersides of the floorboards when looking up, then you mostly likely have suspended timber flooring.
  • Can’t see the underside: if the space under your floors isn’t accessible, you may need to lift up a corner of the carpeting and the underlay to check for suspended timber flooring.

Suspended timber flooring can be insulated by installing wool insulation (much like that installed in lofts) in between the floor joists, with netting to support the insultation. If you have a cellar or basement, then you’ll need to also apply plasterboard to the ceiling (which is the under floor you can see when looking up), to help provide fire resistance protection.

6). Loft Insulation

Did you know that up to 1/4th of your homes heat can be lost through an uninsulated loft or a loft that doesn’t have enough insulation? That’s quite a bit of money being spent on heat loss, when adding more insulation could cut this loss, making your home warmer in the cold months.

What to consider:

  • Insulation depth: should be at least 27 cm. If your insulation is less than that, then it’s time to add more.
  • Easy access loft with no damp or condensation: this is a relatively easy DIY job. Here, you can install rolls of mineral wool insulation, making sure to lay the first layer between the wood joists. Then install another layer, at right angles, over the joists, making sure the insulation is deep enough.
  • Inaccessible loft spaces: if you have a loft space that’s inaccessible, then you’ll need to hire a professional to come in and use a blown insulation to increase your home’s insulation. This is not a DIY job, as specialized equipment is needed and the installer has to wear protective gear to avoid inhaling the insulation.

7). Pipe Lagging

Pipe lagging can keep your water pipes nice and warm through the winter. You won’t have to worry about them freezing and you’ll save money by improving the efficiency of your hot water. In other words, your water will stay hot as it travels through the pipes to heat your home or your shower.

Burst water pipes not only cause damage to your home and belongings, but they can also be expensive to repair.

Lagging, or insulating, your home’s pipes is a relatively inexpensive method, and it’s usually an easy DIY project.

Which pipes to insulate: let’s take a look at the pipes that need lagging:

  • Outside pipes, including those leading to your garden tap
  • Pipes in the loft: even if your loft is well-insulated, any water pipes running in the loft should be lagged. The heat from your home and insulation installed will not keep pipes from freezing in the loft.
  • All hot water pipes: this includes pipes in the airing cupboard, pipes running from the boiler and central heating pipes (including those that run to radiators and pipes under wooden floors).

Next, you’ll need to consider the type of pipe insulation you’ll need:

  • Polyethylene foam: the best choice is polyethylene foam lagging. This is available in most hardware stores. These usually have been cut, making a slit that easily fits over the pipe.
  • Pipe wrap insultation tape: this is tape that wraps and sticks to the pipes.
  • Felt or wool lagging: these are actually “sleeves” of natural materials used to insulate the pipes. This is wrapped around the pipes.

The tools you’ll need are simple and include a utility knife, duct/insulation tape (you can also use cable ties), tape measure, pen (for marking where to cut the insulation), pipe lagging.

As you can see, there are several ways to help keep your home warmer this winter, while also saving money. We wish you and your family a very cosy winter!

Changing Energy Supplier To Lower Your Energy Bills:

You could consider changing your energy supplier with 28 days by comparing your energy via our home energy comparison service, it take less than 3 minutes to give you a quote which could save you upto £420 per year, you have nothing to lose but a possible large saving per year, ideal for the cold wearther this winter.


Useful Links

Warm Home Discount Scheme:

If you are on low income you may be entitled to a warm home discount grant or other help, please visit the government website to find out more information regarding these grant and other help:

Warm Home Discount Scheme.

NHS Help & Advice Regarding Cold Wearther:

NHS Help & Advice

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