The winter is fast approaching and a lot of people are dreading the bills that will be soon be landing on the doorstep. Energy prices have risen again and the cost of heating your home doesn’t come cheap. I have been talking with other mums and dads this week about the little and sometimes big actions we take to save money and stay warm during the winter months. It’s sad but true that a lot of families can’t afford to turn their heating on and would rather go cold than go into debt to keep warm. I have put together a list of ways to help save money and keep warm, some are free or inexpensive and some come at a cost but will save you money in the long run.
I will begin with the biggest and most expensive solutions:
- Fit an energy efficient boiler – new boilers are not cheap but with an old boiler you are potentially wasting money. A new energy efficient boiler costs around £530 upwards but could save you up to £500 per year.
- Double glazing – costs anywhere form around £3,000 upwards depending on the size of your house. Double glazing could save you around £100 a year and many companies offer BOGOF offers, shop around to get a great quote.
- Solar panels - a basic solar panel kit is £12,000. Solar panels can produce 50% of your homes electricity and save you up to £200; some major fuel companies will let you have the solar panels for free. You can benefit form the electricity but you will not own the panels. I would recommend weighing up the pros and cons of solar panels before choosing which route to take.
Inexpensive solutions and tips.
Inexpensive solutions can make a huge difference in your home and in your purse:
- Loft insulation – government schemes are in place to help people with cost of loft insulation. The elderly 70+ can benefit from free loft insulation, people who are on certain benefits can also benefit from free loft insulation. People who are not on any benefits can still receive up to 70% off. Loft insulation can save a family up to £175 a year. (www.freeinsulation.co.uk)
- Draught tape – can be brought from as little as £3 from a lot of hardware stores. Use a candle to locate any draughts and seal them, this will help keep the heat in.
- Draught excluders – can be brought for around £2-£5, keep all of the heat in one room and stop a draught. You can also make this yourself, as a women and mummy I have lots of pairs of tights and odd socks; cut the tights in half and fill them with odd socks, place in front of doors and bingo.
- Rugs – rugs on hard floors and help keep the room insulated and also stop your feet from getting cold when you get up.
- Ecoflaps – letterboxes can loose 27% of your homes heat, eco flaps are around £20; they seal up the letterbox and still the post to come through the door. Ecoflaps are more available online. To save money you can just seal up your letter box yourself but remember to unseal it before the postman arrives.
- Radiator boosters – as seen on dragons den. Radiator boosters sit on top of the radiator and suck up the lost heat from the back of the radiator and circle it though the room; they only cost 30p a year to run. The cost of a radiator booster is around £20.
Free solutions and tips.
Saving money and keeping warm and free, what could be better?
· Open blinds and curtains during the day to let the sun in and close them early evening to keep the heat in.
· Layer up – its better to wear a few thin layers than to wear one heavy layer, jumpers and t-shirts will work great together.
· Bleeding radiators – feel the radiator at the top and bottom, cold patches usually indicate that the radiators need bleeding. Bleeding radiators makes sure you are receiving all of the heat that you are paying for.
· Remember not to cover radiators – keep the radiators clear to allow the heat to travel.
· Candles – candles produce heat and a lot of people already have them in their homes; remember to be careful.
· Light blankets/dressing gowns and socks - keep you warm if your just relaxing watching TV or reading.
· Lots of hot drinks – hot drinks will warm you right though on cold days, thermo flasks will also keep your drinks warmer for longer.
· Hats – the majority of your body heat is lost though your head so to keep the heat wear a hat.
· Exercise – exercise will warm you up and keep your blood flowing, get the whole family involved in the housework; it will keep everyone warm and get the jobs done.
· Keep doors open – when using the shower or bath and even cooking. If the kitchen and bathroom doors stay open it allows the heat to travel.
· Washing on a lower temperature – using the washing machine on lower temperatures reduces the energy the washing machine uses and saves you money.
· Try not to use the tumble dryer – getting the children’s clothes dry can be a nightmare in the winter but it will save you money if you use a clothes rail instead of the tumble dryer.
· Hot water bottles – again a lot of people will already have them, great for keeping you warm.
· Snuggles/hugs – my favourite; nothing beats snuggling up on the sofa with the hubby and girls and sharing body heat.
Stay warm. Thanks for reading, please follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/#!/hayleythompson1