As sure as the night follows the day, energy prices seem to rise year after year. Because of this, you have to be more frugal with how you heat your home.
For many people, this means simply not heating their homes as much and simply putting up with the cold, this can be detrimental to health and those seriously struggling to pay energy bills should contact their energy supplier and ask for help.
But what can be done to heat your home without spending a fortune?
We will discuss some cost-effective and low-tech solutions to keeping warm during winter and reducing those energy bills.
Draughts are a major cause of heat loss within homes and can make your home feel a lot colder than it actually is. Draught proofing alone could save around 10% on your energy bill per year so any initial cost is likely to be paid back within the first year.
Draught proofing is relatively easy, firstly check areas where you suspect there may be a draught – windows, doors (keyholes and letterboxes), loft hatches, chimneys, floorboards and anywhere else you may have an unwanted gap in the construction of your home. Once you have identified draughts its time to stop them. If you have a reasonable level of DIY skills you can fix 99% of draught problems for yourself.
Proper home insulation has a massive effect on heat loss and your energy bill. As governments around the world are increasingly obliged to reduce their countries energy usage, schemes are rolled out that make home insulation extremely affordable, the responsibility for running these schemes is generally passed on to the power companies so check with yours what help is available – some power companies will even help if you are not with them so make sure to check with them all – not just yours.
The big two to look out for are loft insulation and cavity wall insulation, while for cavity wall insulation you will need a professional to do the work, loft insulation can be bought and fitted with minimal DIY skills in just a few hours. Remember to insulate the loft hatch so your good work doesn’t go to waste.
3. Reflect heat back into your home
A great tip to increase the heat you feel from your radiators is to use radiator reflectors – A simple aluminium foil sheet that slides behind your radiator and instead of losing half of the heat generated into the wall the idea is that this heat is reflected back into your home, radiator reflectors have been shown to reduce fuel expenditure.
While you may have heard that kitchen foil is a DIY radiator reflector, unfortunately, is it fairly ineffective and quickly loses the aluminum that is required to bounce the heat back. Luckily radiator reflectors can be bought very cheaply from your local DIY store or online.
4. Make a Candle-Heater
Simple and cheap ways of providing heat have been and are still used the world over. A candle heater is a simple solution to increase the temperature of a room by a few degrees. While lighting candles alone would help to take the edge off a cold room creating a candle heater will multiply this effect by using simple scientific principles of convention heat transfer.
Check out the video from Dylan Winter who originally came up with the candle heater and uses it to keep his home office warm for 8 pence/12 cents per day!
5. Finally, think about HOW you heat your home
When you arrive home from work and your house feels freezing cold it’s easy to pop the central heating (I was lucky enough to find a plumber in Los Angeles that can also do HVAC work) straight on but this isn’t always the most economical way to heat your home (and yourself).
If you will just be occupying one room or one level of a house, then it is much cheaper to just heat that area and close off the rest of the house. This can be done fairly economically with an electric heater. Make sure you close doors that lead to other rooms you will not be going in so that you don’t waste the heat that you are generating.
Now if you’ve covered these basics consider the following mini-tips to edge out a bit of extra heat – leave the oven door open after cooking, cover cold wooden floors with rugs or even blankets, go to the pub, line your curtains, put (another) jumper on, hug someone, wear slippers, do some star jumps, heat the person not the home.
By Valerie S.