More than 50% of adults in the UK plan to go out less during the winter months. Spending more time indoors is the perfect way to avoid the cold and rain, but it also means using more light, more heat and bigger energy bills!
Here are a few tips to make sure you stay comfy this winter, without racking up energy bills bigger than they need to be.
If you want to stop worrying about your heating bill for good, you could check out an Unlimited Energy package from One Utility Bill. But we recommend making your home as energy efficient as you can too, the planet will thank you!
Make the most of your heating
Heating uses the most energy in our homes, according to the Energy Saving Trust, because generating heat is an energy-intensive process, whether you use electricity or a gas boiler to heat your home. Doing a few things to make sure you make the most of your heating is going to get you more heat for less money!
Only have the heating on when you need it
It's a well-worn energy-saving myth that you need to have your thermostat set to a constant level in the winter months. You can read more about this energy-saving myth at our guide, but we promise that only setting the heating for short periods when you're getting ready, when you arrive home, etc. is going to save you a ton.
Invest in fancy keep-warm technology
This doesn't need to break the bank. There are a ton of snuggly electric blankets available, and they're not as expensive as they used to be. You can even get USB-chargable electric slippers, and gloves!
If you don't fancy plugging in, the One Utility Bill team swear by an Oodie or something similarly fluffy to shuffle around the house in. You'll be surprised at how much less you need the heating on when you're wrapped in 3 feet(ish) of synthetic sherpa fleece.
A radiator reflector will keep the heat from the radiator in your room, and not in the walls. They're only a few quid and can make a huge difference!
Attention home owners:
You could qualify for a government grant to make your home more energy efficient, which will save you money on improving your home AND on energy bills long term.
Only heat the spaces you're in
This is especially important if you live alone, or you're home alone for long stretches. You can switch radiators off manually in rooms you're not going to be in so you're not heating empty space!. This will bring down your energy usage and make for a more energy-efficient home with barely any effort!
Note: It's a good idea to make sure all the rooms in your house get heated in the colder months to avoid problems with mould, so make sure you switch them back on again to make sure you don't cause long-term issues!
Make your own insulation
There are tons of ways to keep the heat in your home. If you own your home, you might be able to get government funding to improve its energy efficiency with insulation. If you're a renter, you can ask your landlord for any improvements long term that would boost the property's energy rating.
Either way there are plenty of small things that you can do to boost your home's insulating power.
- Invest in draught excluders.
- Whether you go for longer term solutions that stick around the edges of doors and windows
- Opt for a cute friend to keep the cold out
It can save a huge amount on your heating bill. Draught proofing is one of the most effective ways to cut your heating bill for your household according to the energy saving trust!
- Keep the curtains closed!
- Anything that creates a barrier between your windows and your room is going to help keep the heat in and bring down energy costs.
- Invest in heavy, thermal curtains - lined if possible - to keep as much heat in as possible. You can get really affordable ones on eBay or Amazon if your budget stretches to that.
- Make sure curtains don't cover radiators! Getting warm air into the room is the important thing. If your curtains cover any part of your radiator, tuck them behind to make sure your energy consumption isn't higher than it needs to be.
No double glazing? Here are some tips
Most homes have double glazing in the UK, which is a huge boost for energy efficiency. 79% of owner-occupied homes, and 71% of rental properties have an extra layer of glass working hard to keep the heat in and their household warm.
If you don't have this boost on your side, there are a few things you can do to boost your energy efficiency. The main benefit of this is keeping the heat in, but we thought this was such a big boost that it deserved its own point.
Create DIY double glazing
Adding a layer of film to your windows traps more heat in and lowers your heating bills. Even Martin Lewis, the literal money saving expert, has talked about this as a way to keep things warm.
There are purpose-made insulating films to place over your windows that you can get for a few quid on eBay or Amazon. They'll pay for themselves in saved energy if you install them right. You can also DIY a cheaper version with a layer of cling film. This can be tricky though, so if you ask us it's probably better to go for the kit.
Seal up the cracks
This is a more intensive version of blocking draughts, but worth mentioning! If the home you live in is very old, some of the windows could have gaps where they don't close properly that let a lot of warm air out (and winter cold in!)
- If you're a renter, ask your landlord to seal this up.
- If you own your home, a short-term solution is to use cheap silicone sealant to fill the gaps and stop the escape of warm air. A longer term solution is to invest in double glazing.
Have nice hot showers (and keep your energy bills down)
Hot water is the second biggest user of power in our homes, so finding ways to use less can make a big difference. And it's not just energy bills that come down. 5% of the UK's carbon emissions come from hot water at home, so you can feel a little better about your habits with just a few small changes.
Short Shower Power is our personal favourite way to cut down hot water use. The average UK adult spends about eight minutes in the shower each day. Cutting that down to five minutes saves about 138 litres of water and all of the energy it would take to heat that water!
The exact amount of water and energy your shower uses will depend on the type of shower you use, your water pressure, your shower head, and all sorts of stuff.
BUT, on average, all One Utility Bill customers cut their daily shower to 5 mins or less, they'd save:
- 168g of CO2 saved per shower by heating less water.
- 336g of CO2 saved per home per day.
- 1126.6kg of CO2 saved each day
- 411,088.55kg of CO2 every year
That's enough carbon saved to make more than 1.2 million cups of coffee, or drive to the moon and back more than 5 times.
That's pretty impressive for such a small effort. And if you want to take another step, you can get shower heads that increase your water pressure, and use less water, which will save even more energy!
If you fancy giving it a go, try our Short Shower Playlist to help. Pick a song (they're all five mins or less) and try to finish your shower before it's done. Easy.
Easy ways to become more energy efficient
Cutting your gas and electricity bills is an obvious motivation to use less energy, but shrinking your carbon footprint is an amazing benefit too.
If this is your sort of thing, we have a few energy saving guides you might like:
And here's another link to some info on Unlimited Energy, if you're interested.